Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sacrificial Lambs

There will always be sacrificial lambs in this war.
~ Taliban Recruiter

What is the worth of a child's life? The value of anyone's life that a child might be brainwashed to take it?

How does a human being live with the knowledge that he trains children — some as young as five, many more just 10- to 14-years-old  — to become terrorists and suicide bombers?

What kind of mother and father allows a son to be recruited to do the Taliban's killing?

What does it mean for the future of our world to grow hate in the hearts of boys?

If promises and provision of free food, shelter, and clothing are sufficient exchange to kill, what is sufficient to gain an oath to honor life? 

Whatever my answer might be, whatever yours is, I wonder.

Give me back myself.
Give me back the human race.
~ Toge Sankichi

Meaning displaces us. . . .
~ Mahmoud Dawish

Film producer and journalist Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy goes around the world to document the stories of refugees, women's advocacy groups, and men and women caught up in the life-draining struggle to defend human rights. Her award-winning work, including her films Children of the Taliban, with Dan Edge (an investigation into the creation of a generation of child-terrorists), The Lost Generation (about Iraqi refugees and exiles), and Afghanistan Unveiled (about Afghani women's lives in the war-torn nation), is her way, she told an interviewer, to try to help "effect change" in the world "in one community at a time."

As shown in the short piece below, Obaid-Chinoy sought to understand how the Taliban recruits and uses propaganda to train children to become killers. She spent a year trying to understand. I watched the excerpt; it's chilling. I understand what's done, even a little how the propaganda is used, that poor and uneducated and hungry-enough mothers and fathers can be bought off, and yet I understand nothing.  The children whom Obaid-Chinoy interviewed believe with all their hearts what they are saying; they believe the perversions of the Koran in which they've been indoctrinated in a language they do not understand; they believe that to murder "infidels" is to bring glory unto God.

What blessing would you get from carrying out a suicide attack?

On the day of judgment, God will ask me, "Why did you do that?"

I will answer, "My Lord! Only to make you happy!"

Obaid-Chinoy, a 2010 TED Fellow, helped found the nonprofit Citizens Archive of Pakistan, which seeks to foster and promote interest in Pakistan's culture and history. The organization's volunteers work with many thousands of children to teach them critical thinking skills and instill pride in their history and identity.

A complete list of Obaid-Chinoy's films is here; videos excerpts from her work are here.


M.L. Gallagher said...

That was chilling.

Kathleen Overby said...

Yes it was Louise.

katdish said...

What kind of black soul would cause a person to do this to a child?

slowmuse said...

M, thank you for this. Will be passing the link along to several friends.

S. Etole said...

and now my heart hurts for those little ones ...

sarah said...

this is anguishing.

Joyce Wycoff said...

As dark as the question is, the environment that created it must be even darker. I can only be thankful that there are so many of us who cannot comprehend the world that creates this.

A. Jay Adler said...

This reinforces our necessary understanding of the malleability of human consciousness. It's frightening, to be sure. Thanks for posting it, Maureen. I think I'd like to myself next week, with a hat tip to you.