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Children in India Burn Their Toy Guns to Protest Violence

This image is heartwarming and breaking at the same time. In Gauhati, India, children are protesting the violence that surrounds them by setting fire to their toy guns. The kids lit the blaze in response to the continuing violence in the Manipur region where at least 17 rebel groups have been fighting for autonomy. Nearly 5,000 people have been killed over the past 10 years.

The children gleefully threw their guns into a bonfire, most of them AK-47 and M-16 rifles and cheered as they were destroyed. Some of the children even wore placards reading, “We hate toy guns. We love football." The guns in India were toys — though some children shoulder real weapons in times of war. To see the light at the end of this tunnel,


In a mixed but hopeful report released this week by the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, in the past four years the use of children as soldiers has dropped from 27 percent in 2004 to 17 percent this year. It's not completely positive, however, as this trend could be a correlation resulting from ending conflicts altogether as opposed to the discontinuation of using children as soldiers.

The report also revealed a lack of programs aimed at assisting child warriors back into society. International donors have given millions to help adults following conflicts, but children are left out. Like this story: in the Central African Republic, some 7,500 soldiers were given money and training to help them integrate into society. Of the participants, only 26 were included — though they are believed to have made up a much larger portion of the soldiers. Girls might have it worst of all — those used in battle as soldiers, cooks and sexual slaves are even less likely to receive any assistance either from shame or because they have no weapons to provide at the end of the conflict.

Do the children burning their toy guns have the right idea? Is it tragic they have to do so at all? What should be done to help children who've fought in wars?


Join The Conversation
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 9 years
Lupe Fiasco has a song called "Little Weapon" that is about child soldiers, its very good and makes you think!
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 9 years
The kids are cutie, I was seriously thinking hard about adopting an Indian boy and a Chinese girl (not just because their cute) but so I can give them a better life and can have the opportunity to live a normal life and go to college.
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 9 years
Child soldiers are a big issue in Africa, Middle East, some Asia and South America. But you do see a lot of children in America robbing and killing, its the same thing. Violent shows and music to me is a big reason why kids think its okay. When I hear angry music, with fighting, guns, and killing I get pumped and if I didn't have two parents who would watch I would have gone out and maybe done something stupid. All depends of social class, society, and upbringing.
Lyv Lyv 9 years
"having a toy gun doesn't make you prone to violence"? Well you weren't born & raised amidst warfare, so you can only speak for yourself. I think this is a really nice gesture. Violent video-games are different because they give a sense of unreality and are aimed at more mature audiences, whereas toy guns are meant for kids who are still in a process of building character and developing personality. Toy guns are not very healthy for kids living normal lives, and they sure as hell aren't good for kids who experience poverty, conflict and death since they can remember.
syako syako 9 years
I'm curious as to what study has shown the link between candy cigarettes and rise in youth smoking, killitded, can you provide a link? Or a source?
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
having a toy gun doesnt make you prone to violence , I used to run around and play cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, heck i was leia vs the stormtroopers, i used squirt guns, plastic guns with sounds, wooden guns, and i have never picked up a gun and harmed anyone in my life! I even watch violent movies, and play violent video games.....
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Ruby Dee will always be Mother Abigail to me.
killitded83 killitded83 9 years
i love this! toy guns should totally be banned, especially in America. don't you think its the same kind of thing as candy cigarettes? everyone used o have them and think nothing of it, but it increased the smoking rate.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Whether its child soldiers in a foreign land or child criminals here at home society is what society cultivates. Our salvation from war and every other ugliness that leaves a scar on humanities soul lies in our children, our innocence.
geebers geebers 9 years
In an area that is prone to child soldiers, I think instilling a mindset that violence is wrong and children should not be a part of it is a good idea. Am I saying toy guns should be banned? No- but this sort of illustration of burning guns is a way to develop young minds. I would much rather have kids be "brainwashed" to believe that they should have a normal childhood that does not involve real guns and going to war than have them be taught that they must fight.
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Oh my gosh! I'm such a dork. I crack myself up!
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Ha I didn't see your post until now! :true:
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Ok now I do feel like a numnut! SHE was the mother! :rotfl:
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
I used to see them at church now and then when I lived in L.A.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
LOL! Ruby Dee is the mother. She is the widow of Ozzy Davis.
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Sorry bad punctuation and grammer there. My son is crawling all over me while I'm trying to type.
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Wait! I think I do know who he is! I'm looking at the back of my AG DVD and there is a guy in a light yellow shirt. Walking next to Denzel Washington. Isthat him. He was also in Kinky Boots. I don't know if youve seen that or not but if not-you should. Wonderful movie. I love that movie. He is gorgeous.
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Oh did you like American Gangster? I did. My two favs of RC are LA Confidential and Mystery Alaska. I can't think of who Ruby Dee is. I'm sure I'll realize. Was he in AG?
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Haha! Sorry hartsfull. I had the same problem watching American Gangster, but nothing can keep me from my Ruby Dee.
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Oh that sounds like fun! Hypno, I was watching Gladiator the other day and that "Gerber baby" thing popped in my head! HOwever, it didn't ruin it for me. :raspberry:
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Well he sent me a bunch of Wii Mario Kart stuff. I get my present from his actual trip tomorrow. Then I will beat his butt at Mario this weekend!
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
i guess i was just referring to the question at hand... rather than bringing it back to the US where this would obviously never happen. sorry if that makes me "hostile".
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Aww that's sweet! Wow, how lovely a fall wedding will be. I'm sorry your honey is gone. :( Can you tell us what you got?
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Ha! No harts. Not yet. Not until October 18th that is. The present is from my fiance. He is away on business.
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