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Child soldiers are children who are under eighteen and recruited, either by a state or non state armed group. These children can be used in combat, cooks, messengers, spies and even sexual purposes. These children are taken away from their families and taught violence and acts of terrorism. Child soldiers and blood diamonds or conflict minerals are related, as the children are ordered to search for these minerals, which is helping in financing a war and paying for weapons and supplies. They are recruited voluntarily due to poverty or by force. Although the film is a very light representation of reality, it has created awareness for this issue. Ishmael Beah was a child soldier during the civil war in Sierra Leone. He now works in the U.N. helping children that are affected by the war. This is a small glimpse of the events occurring in the eyes of a child soldier. Ishmael Beah was brainwashed, drugged and forced to kill after his town had been raided at the age of 12 and his parents were killed. He was soon taken in by a rebel group, given shelter and trained to kill. “Somebody being shot in front of you, or you yourself shooting somebody became just like drinking a glass of water. Children who refused to fight, kill or showed any weakness were ruthlessly dealt with. Emotions weren’t allowed. For example, a nine year old boy cried because they missed their mother and they were shot,” he says. Working with the child soldiers for two years, he soon felt accepted by the group that even after being rescued by UNICEF, the child soldiers would be destructive and beat the staff members. After staying with hem for eight months, he soon began to reconnect with his childhood and readjust to life after the war. His improvement was outstanding and he was later adopted by a UNICEF worker, brought to America and given an education. He has written a book called “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier”, from his experiences as a child soldier in Sierra Leone, and works as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador supporting children coming from similar experiences as him and giving them hope to a better life. Around the world today, there are thousands of children easily drugged and brainwashed, given the task to kill innocents, and they cannot even differentiate between right and wrong; just as Solomon Vandy’s son could not even realize that his father has come to save him. Instead, he starts to shout for backup from his rebel group. From all age groups, children are the most useful to be used as soldiers as they are impressionable, expendable, do not require too much space and food, as well as people are hesitant in killing a child. Furthermore, these children want a sense of belonging, especially in such a society that is in collapsed ruins. They come from collapsed communities and are willing to belong to anything even slightly organized. Thus, the rebels use these facts to their advantage and target children to be used as child soldiers. Those children that voluntarily join these groups are there because of a number of reasons. They are orphaned because of armed conflict, HIV/AIDs, and poverty. It’s not only children who are being enticed; its also the parents who see this as a way for their child to make money. A recent factor also comes into play, which is the rise in plastic lightweight weaponry. Now that weapons are lighter, children find it easier to carry around an AK-47

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