Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Ugandas
Children (Paperback)

From Publishers Weekly
In northern Uganda, thousands of children have been kidnapped by rebel armies and pressed into murderous service. Here, Akallo, who was herself kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army at age 15, offers a disturbing, deeply personal account of being forced to march with the rebel army, fight, and raid villages for food and water. Akallo is joined by co-author McDonnell, who works for the Institute on Religion and Democracy. In between Akallo’s gripping autobiographical passages, McDonnell interweaves informative chapters recounting the history of strife in Uganda, and explaining the political-religious vision of Joseph Kony, head of the LRA. McConnell includes snippets from a Human Rights Watch report about abducted children, who were forced, among other things, to kill other children. The authors believe that God is protecting the children of Uganda, sometimes working miraculous intervention to protect them—but they also spotlight activist groups, such as the Uganda Conflict Action Network, who are doing their part to make a difference in the lives of child soldiers. Readers are urged to pray for the end of war in Uganda, to join protest rallies, and to design awareness-raising bulletin boards in their churches. The alternating narrative voices create a disjointed reading experience, but otherwise this is a moving, informative and brave book. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
by Ishmael Beah

From Amazon.Com:

My new friends have begun to suspect I haven’t told them the full story of my life.

“Why did you leave Sierra Leone?”
“Because there is a war.”

“You mean, you saw people running around with guns and shooting each other?”

“Yes, all the time.”


I smile a little.

“You should tell us about it sometime.”

“Yes, sometime.”

This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them.
What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived.
In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he’d been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.

This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.

About the Author
Ishmael Beah came to the United States when he was seventeen and graduated from Oberlin College in 2004. He is a member of Human Rights Watch Children’s Division Advisory Committee and has spoken before the United Nations on several occasions. He lives in New York City.



Children at War

"Small Arms and Children

Small arms negatively affect the lives of children because:

• Children are victims of conflict and small arms misuse
• Small arms proliferation and misuse interfere with the provision of basic needs and services
• Small arms make child soldiering possible

Joining with Amnesty International activists around the globe to demand tougher international arms controls. Download this action guide to get started.

Small arms are used to kill and injure children and other civilians in armed conflicts and countries at peace. In 1999 alone, Colombia's children were victims of 1,333 homicides, 58 accidents, and 16 suicides in which small arms were used. Between 1987 and 2001, 467 children died in the Israel-Palestine armed conflict as a result of gun-related violence. During the same period, 3,937 children were killed by firearms in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Small arms are also used to commit human rights abuses and cause psychosocial trauma to thousands of children. Small arms proliferation often weakens the traditional family structure and support system for children. Small arms can devastate the family, by causing death or injury of a parent or forced separation of children. Children witnessing sustained gun violence can suffer traumatic life-changing effects, which can serve as a key determinant on the decision to become a combatant at an early age, or take up a life based on the gun.

The threat of small arms misuse may impede the delivery of food assistance or interfere with the harvesting of foods and livestock production, causing children to suffer from malnutrition. Small arms proliferation often results in massive population displacement, uprooting millions of children and their families from their homes and making children more susceptible to disease, violence, military recruitment and sexual assault. Approximately 12.8 million refugees and 23 million displaced persons - half of them children - have been forced to flee due in large part to violence and conflict fuelled by small arms."

Facts About Child Soldiers

* Although there are no exact figures, hundreds of thousands of children under the age of 18 serve in government forces or armed rebel groups. Some are as young as eight years old.

* Since 2001, the participation of child soldiers has been reported in 21 on-going or recent armed conflicts in almost every region of the world.

* Children are uniquely vulnerable to military recruitment because of their emotional and physical immaturity. They are easily manipulated and can be drawn into violence that they are too young to resist or understand.

* Technological advances in weaponry and the proliferation of small arms have contributed to the increased use of child soldiers. Lightweight automatic weapons are simple to operate, often easily accessible, and can be used by children as easily as adults.

* Children are most likely to become child soldiers if they are poor, separated from their families, displaced from their homes, living in a combat zone or have limited access to education.

* Many children join armed groups because of economic or social pressure, or because children believe that the group will offer food or security. Others are forcibly recruited, "press-ganged" or abducted by armed groups.

* Both girls and boys are used as child soldiers. In some countries, like Nepal, Sri Lanka and Uganda, a third or more of the child soldiers were reported to be girls. In some conflicts, girls may be raped, or given to military commanders as "wives."

* Once recruited, child soldiers may serve as porters or cooks, guards, messengers or spies. Many are pressed into combat, where they may be forced to the front lines or sent into minefields ahead of older troops. Some children have been used for suicide missions.

* Children are sometimes forced to commit atrocities against their own family or neighbors. Such practices help ensure that the child is "stigmatized" and unable to return to his or her home community.

* In some countries, former child soldiers have access to rehabilitation programs to help them locate their families, get back into school, receive vocational training, and re-enter civilian life. However, many children have no access to such programs. They may have no way to support themselves and are at risk of re-recruitment

* In 2000, the United Nations adopted an Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. The protocol prohibits the forced recruitment of children under the age of 18 or their use in hostilities. To date, it has been ratified by more than 110 countries.

* The ILO Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labor prohibits the forced or compulsory recruitment of children under the age of 18 for use in armed conflict. It has been ratified by over 150 countries.


On You Tube

"You’d think it would be easy to make a movie about the arms trade.You’d be wrong. My new film, Lord of War, was rejected by every major studio i n Hollywood. The film wa s eventually financed independently a nd was on ly possible because the cast—Nicolas Cage, Ethan Hawke, Jared Let o, Bridget Moynahan, Eamonn Walker and Ian Holm—took pay cuts to appear in it.

This film sheds light on weapons trafficking, the role that nations play in it, a nd the consist ent fai lu re of world gover n ments to stop t he uncontrolled trade in weapons. While you may be overwhelmed with the scope of the problem, even small a contribution from someone like you can help stop it."... Andrew Niccol

The best of the features is “The Making of Lord of War..... Director Andrew Niccol explains how the crew actually worked with arms dealers to get real weapons for the film. He further explains how this was surprisingly cheaper than buying fake weapons."


An ex-mercenary turned smuggler (Leonard DiCaprio). A Mende fisherman (Djimon Hounsou). Amid the explosive civil war overtaking 1999 Sierra Leone, these men join for two desperate missions: recovering a rare pink diamond of immense value and rescuing the fisherman's son, conscripted as a child soldier into the brutal rebel forces ripping a swath of torture and bloodshed across the alternately beautiful and ravaged countryside. Directed by Edward Zwick (Glory, The Last Samurai), this urgent, intensely moving adventure shapes gripping human stories and heart-pounding action into a modern epic of profound impact.

DVD Features:
Audio Commentary:Commentary with Director, Edward Zwick (A revealing look at a filmmaker?s personal journey.)
Documentary:Blood on the Stone (RT: 50:00) Follow the path of a diamond from the ground to the store.