Child abuse: Children chained by Al-Shabaab, depriving them of their right to play with other children and be merry…..these children are being brainwashed to become suicide-bombers
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Child abuse with its different forms of neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse is a sensitive and taboo subject in all communities around the world from Europe, Asia to Africa. From biblical times to present day, adults use children for their own gratification: children were/are slaughtered like sheep and their dead bodies presented to Gods as religious offerings. A classical example is Prophet Abraham offering to scarify his son Isaaq to fulfil his religious duties although the child was saved by a divine intervention.
Besides the above extreme forms of child abuse, which involves ritual killings, the most common forms of abuse are the psychical, sexual and emotional abuse in which some cases children are beaten to death by their own parents out of anger and frustration for trivial reasons, for example not saying hello to their relatives! Bad parents use disciplining children as a magic word to justify their cruel acts. Some parents abuse their children sexually, as they force them to engage in sexual exploitation, such as prostitution, or marrying them off to adults they do not know. Some religious cults deprive children of some basic human rights, such as education, for example the Taliban’s practice of not allowing girls to go to school.
As time went by, the world recognised child abuse as a cruel act and crime perpetuated by adults against innocent children who all they need is their parents’ love. Educational campaigns were conducted throughout the world to change primordial attitudes towards children as laws were enacted to protect children. And indeed as recognition of children’s rights some huge organisations were set up for the protection of children. The United Nations’ Children Fund (UNIEF) and Save the Children are some of the thousands of organisations that are out there to protect children and campaign for children’s rights.
The Somali community is not different from other communities and cultures. Child abuse in its forms is a phenomenon in Somalia. You do not need to be academic and conduct research to find out how widespread the practice is. You only need to ask adults to tell you of their relationships with their parents and how they were “disciplined” by their relatives. Painful words such as caning, beating, kicking, hitting, slapping in the face, chaining to boles, starving to death and many more would pour out of the hearts if they were telling the truth. Some common child abuse practices include caning children at Quranic schools and marrying them out at early stages, and abusing them sexually.
After the collapse of the central government in 1991, besides the usual child abuse practices, the child solder became the common form of abuse. From warlords, politicians to religious leaders, children are being used as commodities to be traded with. They are being trained as foot soldiers and suicide bombers. Thousands of children are perishing in battles they do not know any thing about it or did not believe in them.
Now the reader would ask why the author is telling this horrible story, exposing the Somali community, and why he can’t just lump the whole thing under child soldier.
The answer is simple child abuse and child soldier are two different thing. Any one who examines closely the above picture would recognise the different between the two. A child soldier carries an AK4 and is made to kill people; whereas these poor children chained by Al-Shabaab are being deprived of their rights – the right to play with other children and be merry as many of us would have done. These children are not only being abused by this masochist cult of death, they are being brainwashed to become future suicide bombers. Therefore it is only right to expose child abuse practices that go on in our communities from home to educational institutions, using the cult’s awful and vivid practice as an example.
At times of darkness, I seek salvation and refuge in the good actions of people like Mr Abdulaziz Maaxaay who have dedicated themselves in rescuing neglected and orphan children, giving them a new chance of life in whatever capacity they can. I am sure there are many people like Mr Maaxaay who are protecting and helping children but we have to do more.
The message from this article is clear. Please stop child abuse in all it forms because it is a cruel act that destroys children’s lives as adults. Child abuse is a crime under the laws of the most of the civilised nations in our troubled world.