Liberian Children Plea For Peace
Moses M. Zangar, Jr.
The quest for the restoration of genuine and durable peace to Liberia has taken a rather different dimension, with the involvement of scores of children in the advocacy for peace. The children yesterday lined the route to one of the entrances of the conference hall at the Volta Hotel in Akosombo, where peace negotiations among parties to the Liberian conflict are currently ongoing.
The kids have lined the route for the past two days now and had been singing anti-war songs and displaying posters with inscription “please drop the guns, innocent children are dying,” among others.
Interestingly, they have joined thousands of Liberian women in their advocacy for the signing of a cease-fire agreement by the parties, culminating into a cessation of hostilities that would impel war-wearied Liberians to rebuild their lives.
Two renowned women groups, the Mano River Women Peace Network(MARWOPNET) and the Women In Peace Building Network (WIPNET) together with other women had been in the vanguard praying for Liberians to once more breath an air of peace.
Most of the children involved in the process were between the ages 5-8 years. They seemed small and frustrated, though, but appeared determined in their cause.
Consequently, the children of Liberia in a statement read on their behalf by little Lucy Sherman (6) spoke of how they were tired of running from place to place due to continuous war.
“Some of us do not know where our parents, our brothers and sisters are. We are living with strangers and are starving,” they intimated.
In a rather sorrowful mood, the Liberian children lamented how they were being born on the streets with their limbs hiked off as a result of constant wars during which some of the world’s unspeakable atrocities were committed.
Additionally, the kids frowned on the recent fighting, which they said is enough to scare them.
Moreover, the growing death rates amongst pregnant women and children as well as the elderly are immeasurably high owing to the closures of health facilities in most parts of the country that are considered as conflict zones.
Worse of all, is the danger the fighting continues to pose to the educational sector which has rendered the environment for learning not conducive for children and adults alike.
As a result, the Liberian children maintained that their future was been mortgaged by people they considered their fathers, brothers, sisters and relatives that are actors in the conflict.
“We are innocent and cannot understand why. We hear the grown-ups say it is to benefit us, bring us together to build a free and better country for us. Can you all do it without the guns? They asked.
At the same time, the Liberian children have called on the international community to help rescue them and their country from further destruction.
Please give us a chance to live, to grow up, play and learn to one day enjoy the place you are so selfishly destroying with guns, the children pleaded.
It was a very sad moment marked by tears yesterday when the kids read their statement in full view of scores of Liberian and international stakeholders presently attending the peace talks.
Delegates, mostly women and other political parties members who had gone to catch a glimpse of the scene were seen with tears choked in the corner of their eyes as little Lucy Sherman articulately read out their pleas.
On the other hand, many of the women in the peace advocacy group could also not hold back their tears, apparently in sorrow for the little ones.
The kids were all dressed in color clothes with their lunch kits. They were being flanked by a gentleman who was in many instances, heard telling them the terrible stories and consequences of war.
Meanwhile, the Liberian children have vowed to remain resilient in their determination to identify with their mothers and other peace-loving individuals in the search for peace to Liberia. They would not stop until the ongoing conference produces the sort of peace Liberians so richly deserved.