Child Soldiers

Leora Kahn, Editor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Introduction by powerHouse Books $45 (117p) ISBN 978-1-57687-455-4
Activist and editor Kahn (Darfur: Twenty Years of War and Genocide in Sudan) has compiled a powerful illustrated volume documenting the lives of child soldiers, who currently number up to 300,000 worldwide-in places including Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Columbia, across Africa and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Their stories are told through six brief essays and more than 60 unforgettable photographs (from almost three dozen photographers), reproduced in large, high-quality images that record clearly the faces of children standing guard, marching or resting, laden with gear and weapons. Their expressions are haunting, whether fearful, triumphant, proud or dazed. In one of six essays, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, makes it clear what's at stake: ""terrorizing and abducting young children, putting them through brutal rites of initiation, and forcing them to kill community members, sometimes even family members, or be executed."" Jo Becker of Human Rights Watch explains how others ""join out of desperation""; after poverty or war drives them from their homes, many children ""perceive armed groups as their best chance for survival-or simply a guarantee of at least one meal per day."" Activists and politicians should take note of this devastating volume. 65 color and b&w photos.
Reviewed on: 10/13/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
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