How do you believe war affects children?

9:30 PM Harts for Africa 0 Comments

In response to a question from a friend.
Children growing up in a war affected country often miss out on the opportunity for education which then effects the rest of their lives. I know 40 year old African men and women who have gone back to school now, to get the education they missed out on when they were children because of war.
Children lose family members. Armies seek solders by forcing men and older boys off their lands to join them. The choice is simple join or die. Fit, strong men, in the prime of their lives are taken and die resulting in the loss of a country's greatest resource - it's people. These countries are then left in poverty with little hope of a quick recovery. Families don't have fathers or male role models. Children born into war enter life destined for poverty unless they break the odds and rise above it. How sad that poverty is yours unless you do something extraordinary and get yourself above your friends and all because leaders choose war to settle their differences where you were born. The grass suffers when the elephants fight.
I have a friend who watched her parents get shot in their own home when she was a child. Even now as an adult she can't stand loud noise including fireworks. She never feels completely safe in her own home. Her father was part of town security when an army came for recruits.
I have other friends who as little children watched their parents shot. The scars are not visible but very real.
When war forces people off their lands the children never get their land back. Thus they lose their parents and their inheritance. In countries where families are the most important part of life (embedded societies), being removed from their land takes away children's identity. Africans tell me they are different than westerners because they are attached to the land they come from. They long to go back even if it has a harsher climate then the one they are living in. Children removed during war have very little opportunity to go back.
Communities are formed from displaced people  after war moves on and is forgotten by outsiders of these communities, children are left without elders, parents and lands. These communities are not a safe place to grow up in in comparison to their home village that no longer exists or they no longer have a place in.
Children are resilient and will play and laugh in war zones yet the horror, tragedy and loss remains with them for ever. Nobody wins a war.

Greg