31 July, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile






mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 02/08/2008
IRAQ
Iraq, terrorism runs with the legs of a child
by Layla Yousif Rahema
After the release of video showing the training of children for al-Qaeda, the problem of neglected children in Iraq is returning into focus. It is not only al-Qaeda, but the religious militias are also "enlisting" children. Economic need is only the latest motivation driving children to take up rifles. The culture of weapons and violence has deep roots in the country.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - Poverty, ignorance, the seduction of feeling invincible, the desire to fulfil the will of Allah, and finally becoming an adult.  There are many motivations driving Iraqi children into the ranks of al-Qaeda and the sectarian militias, but they can all essentially be explained by the deep-rooted culture of violence and weapons that spread through Iraq long before the American invasion in 2003.  Members of al-Qaeda and the Sunni and Shiite militias are exploiting this, and it takes very little for a child to find himself holding a gun and acting out attacks and kidnappings, as seen in a recent video from al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, made public two days ago. 

Poverty and ignorance

The most ordinary motivation is economic gain.  Today, al-Qaeda pays a child between 200 and 300 dollars to plant a bomb, enough to feed a family of at least five members for two or three months.  According to Iraqi and American military sources, the religious militias pay much less: 35 dollars to deliver a bomb.  Most of the time, these children come from the lower middle classes and have stopped going to school, because of poverty or lack of security.  According to information from the Iraqi education ministry, in 2007 only 30 percent of the 3.5 million school-age children attended school. 

The seduction of war

And then, for those who have seen a parent or another relative die, war represents a powerful seduction, a way to assert oneself in the absence of any alternatives. "I am grateful to the Mahdi Army (editor's note: the Shiite militia of al Sadr), because it has made me a man", says Ali, a 14 year-old Shiite boy, quoted in an article in Newsweek.  The Islamic militants are the strongest men in their world dominated by terror.  And religious factors play a decisive role here: when an adolescent hears his spiritual leader asking him to do something "in the name of God", he feels that by obeying he will leave his life as a child and become an adult capable of carrying out the will of Allah. 

The culture of violence

But behind every 'baby terrorist' there is above all the profound problem of a society that has grown up in a state of war and terror.  The roots of this reach back to before 2003. "When I was in the fifth year of middle school", recalls Yousef, a 25 year-old man from Baghdad who has emigrated to Europe, "they required us to train in the use of weapons after our classes, and those who did not participate were denounced to representatives of the Baath party at the school".  "Children now play at war the way they do with dolls or with model cars", some Iraqi parents complain.  Toy weapons are so common in the streets that last year the government expressed its "concern" in this regard, but without taking any concrete measures.  A Baghdad shopkeeper recounts that "toy rifles are by far the best-selling toy for both boys and girls".  Living in a context in which violence is "even praised" - sociology experts explain - the adolescent is convinced that with the use of weapons he can make a name for himself, a reputation, and this makes him feel strong, invincible.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
02/21/2008 IRAQ
Disabled and beggars banned from the streets of Baghdad
08/28/2008 IRAQ
Iraq, 650 doctors respond to government appeal, return to country
08/20/2009 IRAQ
Baghdad announces new safety rules, but attacks continue
05/15/2010 IRAQ
Elections in Iraq: no fraud after manual counting of votes
08/27/2007 IRAQ
Massive security measures for Shiite pilgrims in Kerbala

Editor's choices
CHINA
Unofficial catholic community of Wenzhou speak out against forced demolition of Crosses, whole diocese fasting
by Joseph YuanAfter 90-year-old Bishop Vincent Zhu Weifang of Wenzhou led 26 priests of the open Church community to protest against the government’s act to demolish Crosses, Coadjutor Bishop James Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou also led his priests to issue an open statement “Strongly demand a halt to demolish Crosses on all churches.
CHINA
Wenzhou: 90-year-old bishop and 26 priests protest against cross demolitions
by Joseph YuanThis is not the first time that the old bishop and his priests speak out against the demolition campaign against crosses and churches, which has touched more than 400 buildings. During the protest, police tried to disperse the group, which sought to submit a petition. The faithful recite a Crown of the Divine Mercy is in support of the Chinese Church. In Lishui, churches are expected to be torn down by 31 August.
ISRAEL - IRAN
After nuclear deal, Israel ought to become Iran’s best ally
by Uri AvneryThis is the thesis of Uri Avnery, leader of Gush Shalom, a major supporter of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. According to the great statesman and peace activist, Iran only wants to be a regional power in the Islamic world, able to trade with everyone, inspired by a sophisticated experience that goes back thousands of years. Iran, which faces backward-looking Gulf monarchies and emirates, could be a great ally against Daesh. Meanwhile in Israel Netanyahu, politicians and the media continue to blunder.

Dossier

Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.