The above picture is centralized on an African child soldier wearing a camouflage costume, wearing rubber slippers; holding a shopping bag in one hand while carrying a gun in the other. In the background, we see “actual” children with their families.
Looking at the child soldier – the centralized subject, what mainly comes to one’s mind is the impact of war and child labor. Comparing the children in the background with the child soldier, we see the stark contrast of one child deprived of enjoying his childhood as he is a young soldier whereas other children are fortunate enough to grow under their parents’ love and care. All that the child soldier has in his possession is his gun, military costume, and a shopping bag to shop for food. He is deprived of parental love and care at a young age and is fighting for war victory putting his life at risk for violence and triumph instead of the love and affection of a family. The dry land depicts extreme poverty, hunger, and famine the community goes through.
The picture associates with many serious global issues. Child labor is one of the many, the picture highlights as young children who are yet to feel the essence of life are separated from their parents and are used by the war authorities for war-fighting. They use the young lives for mass killing and war victory and precious lives are thereby wasted. In the background stand the children who are “lucky” to survive the plight of child labor and we see the extreme innocence of children who need parental care. The child soldier being juxtaposed with the normal children further depicts child exploitation. The dry land gratifies how the droughts have victimized the community as they suffer from starvation, lack of water, and deadly diseases. The child soldier is holding a shopping bag to shop for survival food. The shopping bag implies starvation. His rubber slippers depict extreme poverty. Many burdens and life challenges the community goes through for survival – the cameramen successfully capture this victimization of the innocence.
Analyzing the picture, the central message the picture depicts is the victimization of the innocents where the people go through extreme suffocation due to war, hunger, poverty, and the ignorance of the high authorities where zero concern is given to the fellow human beings’ suffocation. Not only the adults have been victimized, but young children as well. The child soldier carrying a gun in hand questions the rights of children. They are exploited. He represents thousands of other young child soldiers who are deprived of the love of a mother and the care of a father. The child’s innocent mind is exploited with the hunger for bloodshed and war victory, and all superior eyes are ignorant towards this major issue. This throws light upon militarism where war is normalized. The gun the child holds implies the normalization of violence and human cruelty to exploit the young child’s mentality with violence and bloodshed. His young life is in vain. Thousands of young lives are wasted for the absurd war victory.
This picture speaks on behalf of all these victimized communities worldwide. The youth – the future of the world dies in the battlefield. The gnomes of child labor are exploited and are inhumanly separated from their parents at a young age and are trained for violence giving weapons to their hands, destroying their innocence. The innocents are victimized by hunger and starvation and thousands of young children die from malnutrition. Their extreme poverty makes them incapable of survival. The blindness, inhuman mentality, and the egoistic nature of the superiors are the major reasons why these precious lives are gone for nothing. These innocents battle every day for survival but die in the hands of war and superiority. War is a curse upon the human race.
As fellow humans, we should stand with these innocent victims and fight for justice. Sufficient actions should be taken against the eradication of poverty and child labor. I know that thousands of laws and one hundred communities and organizations have been established to stand against child exploitation, starvation, and to prevent war but till the hunger for bloodshed, war victory, and victimization by the superiority exist it can never be eradicated. Man has evolved to be violent and inhuman instead of being selfless with humanity. At least if you or I start being selfless and stand against injustice and violence and help each other, the world will heal and become a better place for you and me, and the entire human race like Michael Jackson sang in his world hit song.
~Rtr. Nirmani Jayawardena