When Elephants Fightby Eric Walters, Adrian Bradbury
The Lives of Children in Conflict in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Uganda. Portraits of five children victims of conflict, including regional history, maps and the causes and results of the conflict.
Five moving, personal stories of children caught up in wars are recounted here, each followed by short sections of historical background and explanations of the conflicts. Jimmy, from Uganda, still lives in his home; Sudanese Toma now lives in a refugee camp on the Chad border. Their experiences are relatively fresh; the others, still vividly told, are recollections of events 12-16 years ago in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Sarajevo by young adults now living in Canada. The informational sections are introductions in which, necessarily, the complicated histories of tension and the issues around these outbreaks of violence have been simplified and summarized. No sources are credited. Occasionally the writers repeat their facts; sometimes the facts change with repetition, as when the number of Tamils imported to work on Sri Lankan plantations grows from "close to a million" on one page to "a million" a few pages later. Bradbury's personal experience with children in northern Uganda lends credence to these narratives, and readers will share his sympathies with these innocent victims. (Nonfiction. 12-15)
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There has never been a war fought that was started by children—or one that failed to harm them. Children are the grass beneath the feet of the men, the tribes, the armies and the nations engaged in armed conflict. Regardless of the winner—and there is a strong case to be made that war produces no winners—the children always suffer.
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