NYT reported War took James Garmey's childhood. It came at night, in the form of armed men battering down a door and carrying him off, the 8-year-old son of a rural customs collector, to be a soldier for the warlord and future president Charles Taylor. "I went to training," said Mr. Garmey, now 22, speaking in the smooth patois of the Liberian street, letting consonants and bits of grammar slip away. "I was small, but I learned to hold gun and after a while went to battlefront. I fire gun, I defend my area."
Using children to fight was absolutely terrible.When Mr. Taylor fled in 2003, Mr. Garmey finally put his gun down, saying he had traded it for a different weapon altogether: the ballot. "I cast my vote and that is my power," he said. "I no need any more gun."
James Garmey lost his childhood to violence, but he is a wise young man now to recognize that ballots are much better than bullets.Much of Africa's future belongs to young men and women like Mr. Garmey, members of a generation orphaned by conflict and AIDS, hardened by combat and want, often illiterate and unbound by deep traditions and taboos.