Operation Sandbox: The Central Sahel’s Adventure Park Edition Goes Awry with Kids in the Crossfire

Published by Fanni on

The situation in the Central Sahel is serious and not a game due to political instability and violence. Political leaders should stop violence against vulnerable members of society. Children in the region need a peaceful and stable environment, which can be achieved by addressing the root causes of the conflict. A few bullet points cannot cover the complexity and severity of the impact of armed conflict on children’s lives in the Central Sahel. A comprehensive approach that considers different perspectives, respects human rights and social justice, and deals with the multidimensional nature of armed conflict is required.

The Central Sahel region has been facing conflict for a decade now, with political instability and violence escalating continuously. In 2022, the violence in Burkina Faso and Mali reached record levels as reported by ACLED. The number of deaths caused by political violence rose significantly by 77% in Burkina Faso and 150% in Mali from the previous year (according to the ACLED database). Additionally, there was a noticeable increase in the total number of conflict and demonstration events in all three of the Central Sahel countries.

During the first half of 2022, over 480 cases of children being recruited and used by armed groups and forces were verified in Mali. This marks a threefold increase compared to the same period in 2021, according to the ACLED database. The reasons for children being drawn into fighting include the loss of parents and extreme poverty. Additionally, over 8,300 schools had shut down in the Central Sahel region by 2022 due to direct targeting, teacher displacement, or fear among parents. Some armed groups opposing state-run education engage in destructive activities such as burning and looting schools, as well as threatening, abducting, or killing teachers, according to UNICEF’s 2023 report.

Is “Surviving Armed Conflict” a newly introduced game in the Central Sahel or is it a harsh reality for the children in that region?

The game “Surviving Armed Conflict” in the Central Sahel is a reflection of the harsh reality that many children face daily. However, it is not a game but a disturbing reality caused by political instability and violence in the region. Political theorists believe that violence is a fundamental aspect of politics and can be used to achieve various goals. In the Central Sahel, violence is being used by armed groups and state forces to achieve their objectives, causing devastating consequences for children. They are vulnerable to physical, emotional, and psychological traumas, and the conflict has disrupted their education, destroyed their communities, and limited their future opportunities. It is the responsibility of political leaders and policymakers to address the root causes of the conflict and work to create a more peaceful and stable environment for children in the region. This will require a comprehensive approach that addresses issues such as poverty, inequality, and governance, as well as the immediate security concerns.

While it may be argued that, perhaps the armed groups in the Central Sahel are just trying to give the children an early crash course on survival skills, like how to dodge bullets and navigate war-torn landscapes. Who needs schools and playgrounds when you can have military training camps, right? And who knows, maybe some of these kids will grow up to be action heroes or mercenaries, and they’ll thank their lucky stars that they got to experience war first-hand as children. It’s all about perspective, really. Of course, we hope it goes without saying that we don’t actually believe this to be true, and we recognize the devastating impact that armed conflict has on the lives of innocent children. It’s important to bring attention to these issues and work towards finding solutions that prioritize the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable members of society. UNICEF spokesperson John James has emphasized that the conflict in the Central Sahel is worsening for children and millions of them are affected (UN news).

How many bullet points should we address in our academic paper to adequately address the fact that children’s lives are being destroyed by armed conflict in the Central Sahel? One? Two? Or should we just settle for ‘lots’?

The question of how many bullet points should be included in an academic paper to address the devastating impact of armed conflict on children’s lives in the Central Sahel is a complex issue that requires careful consideration. While some may argue that a few bullet points would suffice to provide a broad overview of the situation, a critical analysis of political theory suggests that a more detailed and nuanced approach is necessary.

Firstly, it is essential to recognize the multidimensional nature of armed conflict and its impact on children’s lives. According to political theorists such as Hannah Arendt, armed conflict not only involves physical violence but also entails the destruction of social and cultural structures that sustain human life (Owens, 2007). Therefore, to fully comprehend the impact of armed conflict on children, it’s necessary to examine not just the direct consequences of violence but also the broader socio-economic and cultural factors that lead to their marginalization and vulnerability.

Secondly, the complexity of armed conflict in the Central Sahel requires a comprehensive approach that takes into account the multiple actors involved, including state and non-state actors, local communities, and international organizations. As political scientist Robert Keohane argues, the proliferation of actors in contemporary global politics has made it increasingly difficult to address complex issues such as armed conflict through traditional hierarchical structures of governance (Robert Axelrod, 1985). Therefore, a holistic approach that considers the perspectives and interests of different actors and engages in collaborative efforts to address the root causes of the conflict is necessary.

In conclusion, the situation in the Central Sahel is not a game, but a new and disturbing reality that has emerged as a result of political instability and violence. As political theorists have long argued, violence is a fundamental aspect of politics, but it is the responsibility of political leaders to ensure that it is not used to the detriment of the most vulnerable members of society. In this case, that means taking action to address the root causes of the conflict and create a more peaceful and stable environment for children in the region. In light of the above, it is clear that a few bullet points would not adequately address the complexity and gravity of the impact of armed conflict on children’s lives in the Central Sahel. Instead, a comprehensive and nuanced approach that engages with the multidimensional nature of armed conflict, considers the perspectives and interests of different actors, and is guided by a commitment to protect human rights and achieve social justice is necessary to adequately address this issue.

Passionate in Foreign Policy, International Politics and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Terrorism and Human Rights issues, Fanni Siagian is currently studying International Relations at the University Diponegoro as an undergraduate student. She is devoted to learning more by participating in activities that will assist to widen her knowledge and comprehension. For more of his ideas and opinions you could reach Fanni Siagian Son LinkedIn fanni-siagian.

Bibliography

Child alert: Extreme jeopardy in the central Sahel | UNICEF. (n.d.). UNICEF. Retrieved April 16, 2023, from https://www.unicef.org/child-alert/central-sahel-extreme-jeopardy

Conflict Watchlist 2023: The Sahel. (n.d.). ACLED. Retrieved April 16, 2023, from https://acleddata.com/conflict-watchlist-2023/sahel/

Central Sahel: Lives of 10 million children on the line as conflict rages | UN News. (2023, March 17). UN News. https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/03/1134697

Owens, P. (2007, August 30). 2 Violence and Power, Politics and War | Between War and

Politics: International Relations and the Thought of Hannah Arendt | Oxford Academic. OUP Academic; Oxford University Press. https://academic.oup.com/book/4646/chapter-abstract/146805008?redirectedFrom=fulltext

Axelrod, R., & Keohane, R. O. (n.d.). Achieving Cooperation under Anarchy: Strategies and Institutions. World Politics38(1), 226–254. https://doi.org/10.2307/2010357


Fanni

Passionate in Foreign Policy, Terrorism and Human Rights issues. Fanni Siagian is currently studying International Relations at the University Diponegoro as an undergraduate student. She is devoted to learning more by participating in activities that will assist to widen her knowledge and comprehension. For more of his ideas and opinions you could reach Fanni Siagian Son LinkedIn fanni-siagian.

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