The Work Of Cowards

February 01, 2014

News reports last month told of Spozhmai, a 10-year-old Afghan girl who had been strapped into a suicide vest by her Taliban commander brother and ordered to blow herself up at a police checkpoint, but then had second thoughts about following through.

While they denied involvement, the Taliban has a history of recruiting children as young as eight to commit such acts – which truly speaks to their subhuman barbarity. To the Taliban babies and children are mere cannon fodder.

The use of children as instruments of revenge is despicable, the work of those too cowardly to fight their own battles. In Canada we have the much documented case of Omar Khadr, who is serving time in Edmonton after years of detention at the US-run prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. According to Article 38 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Khadr and others can be recruited at the age of 15, and indeed may volunteer even younger. Omar Khadr killed an American soldier and subsequently pleaded guilty when charged of the crime.

Certainly there is no doubt as to his being old enough to understand the right or wrong of his actions. If 10-year-old Spozhmai was able to choose not to blow herself up in a suicide attack at the behest of her brother and other family members, then should not Omar Khadr, who was almost 16 at the time of his 2002 arrest, have been able to make the same moral choice and not throw the grenade that killed American soldier Christopher Speer?

Those who strapped the explosives to Spozhmai and sent her out to kill have no morality. The same is true for those family members who trained Omar Khadr to kill. Spozhmai made the right choice. Omar Khadr could have too, but did not.

What do you think?