Child Soldiering Journal Club

April 20, 2010

As part of the educational component of the Ride for World Health, we have created a series of Journal Clubs to discuss issues associated with global health problems.  A different team rider leads each night, and we may go out for dinner or drinks.  It is supposed to be an informal discussion of an article that we’ve all read.

For my Journal Club I picked an article about child soldering in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Guy, KM.  Child Soldiers as zones of violence in The Democratic Republic of Congo: three cases on medico-legal evidence of torture.  Torture, 19(2), 137-144; 2009).  One of our major benifactors, HEAL Africa, runs a hospital in the DRC.  To supplement the reading, I read passages of the book “A long Way Gone” by Ishmael Beah.  His book is an autobiographical account of his experiences as a war victim and child soldier in Sierra Leone.  The passages described his struggles with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, how he was trained as a soldier and his experiences as a soldier.  They graphically described the methods used by militants to coerce and manipulate children, and then bind them as slaves through drugs and violence.

Although many of my teammates found the journal article lacking, most found the excerpts from Beah very interesting, and were overall satisfied with the quality of the Journal Club.  It will be exciting to see what my teammates have prepared for future articles.

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