“Yeah, Jimmy is such a good little soldier! He wants to be just like his Daddy, and he just loves his machine gun! They’re awarding him the Purple Heart you know! Wow…I can’t believe he’s grown up so soon! Eight years old already!”
Ok…just a little scary, huh?
Yeah. I’d be a little scared to hear a mama talk about her boy like that. You mothers who have little boys – are any of your little ones already in uniform and shootin’ their machines?
I didn’t think so.
But guess what? I know of thousands of little boys all over the country of Liberia who have already had their share of warfare. How would you respond if you were a little orphan on the street and a big man with big hands and a mean face told you to pick up a gun and start shooting? You tell him no and he grabs you and forces some awful stuff down your throat and kicks you to the ground and drags you with him. Then what do you do? Well, by then you’re a little too stupefied to fight back. So you put on the long-haired wig and the dingy dress (to confuse your enemy and ward off evil spirits) and grab the gun that’s pushed into your arms and go shoot whoever you’re told to shoot and rape the girls they make you rape, otherwise…well, you’d be too scared to think of it even if you could think right now. Oh, and if you’re a girl, somebody yells for you to get him some food, another tells you take his position and offers you his gun, and another calls you over and starts making sexual advances on you. Oh, and did I mention you’re eight years old and your mommy didn’t want you?
Yeah. Just evil. Pure evil. Isn’t it?
So why doesn’t somebody do something about it? Why can’t an ex-soldier just start fixing things and stop the bullies and free the slaves?
Don’t you remember? You never went to school because that big, mean, scary guy drug(ged) you to war. You never heard the gospel because all you could ever hear was the sound of bullets whizzing through the air and screaming wounded. You never got to go home and settle down again because your town was ashamed of you and your old friends were afraid of you, after all, you shot your own people sometimes. You never got your conscience cleared because no one would ever forgive you and you remember how that man’s face looked when he was dying from the bullet wound you’d given him. Remember?
Let’s pray for Liberia. Pray that somebody qualified by God would go…maybe some of us.