Many people have heard of the invisible children in Africa, but there’s a recent TED talk about schools for children suicide bombers in the Taliban. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy worked with children under training and with Taliban recruiters for a year to document their efforts. Recruiters target poor families and promise free food, care, and compensation. 5 step process: (1) separate parents from children from poor regions, (2) teach the Koran heavily distorted with no access to any media, (3) make the children hate the world with beatings and harsh living circumstances, (4) talk about the glories of martyrdom, (5) effective propaganda.
First, the brain-washing and training of these Pakistani children seem quite similar to practices described of Joseph Kony’s “Lord’s Resistance Army” camps in Africa. One difference being, it does not sound like the children are abducted, but, rather, negotiated or coerced into joining. Also, the Taliban indoctrinates through religious and nationalistic propaganda, while providing some form of education and literacy. I suppose this prepares the Taliban to have more globally minded strategies, as opposed to the LRA.
Second, I find that westerners are in a strange place between privilege and despair. I’d guess that it has to do with social inequality and broken families, but until the privileged can have hope, will we be able to fully supply the needs of those who are without. Perhaps we may find hope among the children who’ve yet to understand despair, but how do we inspire people to use their liberties to liberate others?
We are the hope that we cannot see….