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EDITORIAL

The Forgotten Frontline: Tragedies of War

Sanhita Saikia
(Sanhita Saikia can be reached at [email protected])

The ture and type of the man-made disaster called war has changed in recent times. The end of the Cold War in 1989 just changed the ture of conflicts instead of bringing about the world peace that everyone had hoped for.Conflict makes life a constant process of adapting to basic insecurity and permanent crises for the generations caught up in war. From direct fighting between countries for territory or conquest of land and world wars where several countries could become involved on each side, conflicts have increasingly become interl, within countries, involving ethnic and other civil groups against each other. Patterns in various political conflicts, despite being geographically far away from each other, have certain commolities: destruction of lives, loss of dignity and disruption of normal livelihood.
The target is often population rather than territory, and psychological warfare is the central element. Atrocities, including civilian massacres, reprisals, bombing, shelling, mass displacements, disappearances and torture, are the norm. Planned genocide is not the only way that populations are targeted. In civil wars, the distribution of power or assets depends on who is harmed or spared; this distribution is often along ethnic or regiol lines. Wars worsen political inequalities and democratic institutions are compromised when war suppresses press freedoms and civil rights. Violent conflicts throughout the world have left millions of people displaced, some within their own country and some across intertiol borders.
The Kashmir conflict is one of the biggest disputes of the past century and one of the longest existing conflicts. Generations of families have witnessed loss of property, missing family members, forced fleeing due to infiltration, guerilla war, militanty  and rape.
Tens of thousands of people are fleeing civil war and unrest to find new homes in Europe — sometimes with tragic consequences. The UN estimates that more people have been displaced than at any time since World War II. The Syrian civil war has produced more than 4 million refugees. Nearly half of them are children.
In Jordan, unemployment has almost doubled since 2011 in areas with high concentrations of refugees, according to a recent Intertiol Labor Organization study. Poverty and war in places like Libya, South Sudan, Eritrea and Nigeria are driving migrants to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea. 137,000 people migrated this year. 1,800 died in the sea.
Meanwhile, thousands are trying to escape gang violence in Central America, political unrest in Ukraine, and little to no progress has been made with regards to war-torn regions in the Central African Republic, Nigeria, and Congo.
There are around 20 million refugees in the world. Some of them are long-term refugees who have integrated into their host countries, but the majority has not. They live in camps and poor urban dwellings, with limited access to education, health care and employment. In many countries, they do not have a secure legal status.
For women and children, the dangers of war go far beyond the violence of combat and they suffer some of the greatest health and social inequities in the world. They escape one war only to find themselves as casualties and combatants in another — a conflict waged against them less publicly and not with bullets or missiles. They risk human rights violations, suffering and death resulting in far-reaching human, social and economic consequences. Women and children even as refugees in foreign countries are exposed to violence and exploitation, with little support or protection.
The common people of Jammu and Kashmir are caught in the midst of the long drawn conflict for years now. Many women have become half widows as a result of the disappearance of the male members of their family. These women are traumatized due to their ibility to find closure and they live with this uncertain fate often even life-long. In most cases they are even shunned by their in-laws, relatives and their community. All of a sudden these women are confronted with economic, social, mental problems, and face starvation, ostracism and isolation. Due to fear of retaliation from either militants or the security, the women are forced to interlize and repress their pain. Anxiety and fear often lead to failing health.
Another effect of war-torn countries where the duration of conflict eclipses generations is the use of child soldiers. Boys as young as seven are targeted by military leaders, given weapons and coerced into killing. There are an estimated 250,000 child soldiers in the world today, and some 30,000 former child soldiers in Liberia alone. In Sudan, boys who escaped the fate of becoming child fighters are returning to their villages to survey the damage wrought by war.
Hundreds of thousands of children die of direct violence in war each year. They die as civilians caught in the violence of war, as combatants directly targeted, or in the course of ethnic cleansing. Millions of children are disabled who don’t have access to rehabilitation services at all. A child has to wait up to 10 years before having a prosthetic limb fitted. Children who survive landmine blasts rarely receive prostheses that are able to keep up with the continued growth of their limbs. An estimated 30 million refugee children have been forced to leave their homes by circumstances beyond their control. Whether from Syria, Yemen, Iraq or El Salvador, whether they are fleeing extreme poverty or brutal violence, their aim is the same: to find a way to live safely, in a place where they have a chance at a better future.
War and violence result in the systemic and sweeping denial of civil, political, economic and social rights, as sentimental niceties or luxuries that a country at war cannot afford. Currently most governments are persistently reluctant to take proactive and practical steps to solve the global refugee crisis. In a world of continuing instability and violence, the implementation of cooperative approaches to peace and security is urgently needed. The solution to global human misery is not to extricate a tiny lucky number and parachute them into richer countries. Lasting peace can be attained only when people’s fundamental human rights are protected. If all  tions of the world do not come together to prevent and end interl wars, genocide, and other large-scale armed violence,  then humanity will continue to suffer the appalling consequences of wars, augmented by biological, chemical, nuclear, and space weapons, for all time to come.