Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | May 2, 2012

To hear Liberia’s former child soldiers is like hearing Colombia’s

This article about Liberia’s child soldiers — now grown up — should be read by every Colombian. Colombia’s children are living the same fate; one could substitute the word “Liberia” for “Colombia.”

These are some of the voices of Liberia as told to journalist Finlay Young of the U.K.’s Independent newspaper:

“The scent of gunpowder, eyes stinging from smoke, your friend crying… it was terrible. I missed my mother at that moment. But then we captured some Nigerian peacekeepers, took them to our HQ. Then I felt so proud. People called me a big man.”

“People in big cars, they wrinkle their noses, like ‘You fought for Taylor, you’re crippled, you deserve it’. … We just didn’t have the money to run away to America like they did.”

“There were many boy soldiers. But I was gifted. They were taking drugs, marijuana. My head was clear, always clear. I was only in the Small Boys Unit for two months before they saw my capabilities.”

“It was 6 April, 1996 that I joined the war, on Broad Street, Monrovia. I was carrying a load on my head, walking with my friend. One general said, ‘Hey you, put your load down, from now on you are my woman.’ … I did it because I saw the other people there getting so many things. You could get more food, clothing, anything you want at all. On the frontline you took your salary.”

“In war-time, there’s no real love. … I was raped before I knew about those things. He forced me to be his wife. He had about 30.”

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