The Changing Faces of War Victims
“TODAY’S wars are different from those of the past . . . It is ordinary citizens, rather than soldiers,” who are increasingly the victims, reported “Perspective,” a program broadcast by UN Radio. For instance, during the first world war, only 5 percent of all casualties were civilians. However, during the second world war, the number of civilian casualties jumped to 48 percent. And today, noted UN Radio, “almost all casualties in conflicts are civilians—90%—and most of these are women, children and the elderly.”
According to Olara Otunnu, who is the UN secretary-general’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, “an estimated two million children have been killed in situations of armed conflict since 1987.” That amounts to more than 450 child war-victims per day over the past 12 years! In addition, during that same period, more than six million children have been seriously injured or permanently disabled.
One way the UN could combat the growing number of child war-casualties, suggested Mr. Otunnu, is by promoting zones of peace. “Locales where children predominate, such as schools, hospitals, and playgrounds, should be regarded as battle-free zones.” However, added UN Radio, “preventing conflicts in the first place” is the most effective way for the UN to make sure that ordinary citizens do not become war casualties. Indeed, eliminating war casualties really requires that war itself be eliminated. Will that ever happen?
Because of humanity’s long record of wars, most people rightly feel that humans will never bring earth-wide peace. God’s Word, the Bible, promises, however, that Jehovah God will do so: “He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth.” (Psalm 46:9) When will this take place? And why can you be sure that God’s promise of worldwide peace will come true? If you would like to receive an answer to these questions, please write to the publishers of this magazine, using the nearest address listed on page 5, or call a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses located near you. There are no obligations and no cost—just straight answers.
[Picture Credit Line on page 31]
UN PHOTO 156450/J. Isaac