Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Rehabilitating Children Suicide Bombers

Imagine an innocent 6 year old boy sitting in front of you and looking at you with intense hatred. Given have a chance this child will blow himself up just to kill you. The very thought of six to sixteen year old boys being trained as suicide bombers is enough to cause one to break into cold sweat. But this is exactly what has happened in Swat in Pakistan. In 2009 when the Pakistan Army started a full scale operation to flush out the Taliban from the pristine and peaceful valley of Swat, they captured 200 kids who had been brain washed and trained as suicide bombers by the Taliban.

These young children had been brain washed to the extent that they even considered their parents to be non-believers and therefore they should be hated with a vengeance and be killed. They had been trained to consider everyone, except the other boys and their trainers, as their enemies and enemies of Islam. They had been indoctrinated in believing the Taliban version of Islam.

Well after the army disarmed them, they did not know what to do with these very dangerous children. The army asked the government of Pakistan to take over these kids and get them treated and rehabilitated. Of course the federal government was clueless as to how to go about handling these children.

It was the army that decided to provide shelter to these children and to find someone who would take charge of curing and rehabilitating them. It was a lady psychologist who was running her own practice in a well heeled area of Lahore who accepted the challenge and is now working with these children. She has categorized the children according to the level of risk they pose. The center is located in Swat and is managed by the army. Even the Army Chief has visited the center and met the lady who is in charge of rehabilitating the children. She has made the project a challenge and many other psychologists have started working with her. Finding staff who will work on such a delicate project has been one of the biggest challenges that the rehabilitation center has faced. But there have been people who have come forward and are working diligently in helping these children. There is a religious scholar as well who is helping the children to learn and understand the true spirit of Islam, and moving them away from the hate teaching that they were taught by the Taliban.

The children are receiving an education as well and vocational training. They participate in games and are taken on field trips. The entire staff hopes that their efforts will pay off one day.

If it was not for the Army chief taking a personal interest in trying to bring these children back into the mainstream of society and the brave efforts of this lady psychologist and her team, these kids would have been languishing in some God forsaken jail and would have been further traumatized. Ask anyone who works in bomb disposal how difficult it is to defuse a bomb, and then imagine the efforts required to defuse a live human bomb.

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