Kathy Kelly shares the story of one widow’s lament for a son who is unable to join her in Jordan. So often it is the young men who are targeted in so many ways. An excerpt.
Kathy Kelly, ZNet, 7 July 2008
"Her son is one of many thousands in Iraq who are out of luck, out of work, undereducated, and lonely for parents and siblings lucky enough to escape to neighboring countries.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says that poverty is driving Iraq's boys and young men, out of desperation, into the militias. A 2007 IOM report noted that "militant fighters sometimes buy the loyalty of displaced persons by providing them some of the things they need, such as food and shelter. More and more children are joining these armed groups, the militias and the insurgents," said IOM officer Dana Graber Ladeck. "Sometimes they do it for money and sometimes for revenge, but we're finding more and more child soldiers, so to speak." (January 30, Voice of America interview)
Some youngsters agree to carry guns and to man checkpoints for the strongest and most heavily armed militia in their country, the U.S. military. Reporting for Reuters, Adrian Croft recently wrote about a "ragtag band of men toting AK-47s at a checkpoint in Baghdad's Sadr City," some of 500 youngsters the US had recruited as part of a new plan to "strengthen the Iraqi army's hold" in the backyard of U.S. rival Moqtada Sadr. (Jordan Times, June 27). New recruits risk their lives to earn $300 a month, guarding these checkpoints. It's undoubtedly one of the best jobs in town. Will this option, will one like it, attract Umm Hamdi's son?”