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By Myriam Denov

Tragically, violence and armed clash became usual within the lives of many kids worldwide. not just have thousands of kids been compelled to witness warfare and its atrocities, yet many are drawn into clash as energetic members. Nowhere has this been extra glaring than in Sierra Leone in the course of its 11-year civil warfare. Drawing upon in-depth interviews and concentration teams with former baby squaddies of Sierra Leone's insurgent innovative United entrance, Myriam Denov compassionately examines how baby squaddies are initiated into the complicated global of violence and armed clash. She additionally explores the ways that the kids go away this global of violence and the demanding situations they face while attempting to renegotiate their lives and self-concepts within the aftermath of conflict. The narratives of the Sierra Leonean early life display that their lifestyles histories defy the slender and proscribing portrayals provided by way of the media and well known discourse.

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Extra resources for Child Soldiers: Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front

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Following a review of both perspectives, I address Anthony Giddens’ theory of structuration, and particularly his concepts of ‘structure’, ‘agency’ and the ‘duality of structure’ which offers an alternative framework to exploring this issue. Chapter 2 addresses the history of armed conflict in Sierra Leone. It traces the country’s colonial legacy, the gradual militarization of Sierra Leonean society, and its path to political oppression, corruption, state failure and civil war. Given the book’s focus on child soldiers in the RUF, the chapter outlines the emergence of the rebel group and its tactics and activities.

Downe 2001, p. 165) Overview of the book 17 In light of the linear portrayals of child soldiers and their marginalized perspectives, there is a compelling rationale to develop alternative visions of child soldiers that are grounded in the perspectives of the children themselves. A reasonable first step, as Rudd and Evans (1998) have argued in relation to marginalized youth, is to ‘map out young people’s attitudes and beliefs’ (p. 41). By engaging former child soldiers, both boys and girls, to talk about their own personal experiences and to reflect on the forces that led to their involvement in war, as well as their post-conflict realities, researchers and those desirous of facilitating processes of reconciliation and reconstruction should come closer to ‘depathologizing’ children who were involved in armed conflict (Ungar and Teram 2000).

West highlights that girls were not simply inducted into mindless violence but acted as central players in the historical drama that defined their times and that, ultimately, young people are not merely the passive receptors of adult ideas or surrounding circumstances. Drawing upon examples from war-affected youth in Palestine and Afghanistan, Boyden (2004) has emphasized that children are often more aware, more active politically and more developed morally and socially than adults assume. Underscoring the importance of viewing children as playing a transformative role in the production and reproduction of culture, particularly during and following war, she notes that rarely have war-affected young people acted as principal informants: ‘seldom have they been considered in their role as carers of younger siblings or incapacitated adults, educators of peers, freedom fighters, community advocates or volunteers, workers or political activists.

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