Scars of War – The Neglected Story
The eleven years civil strife left a shadow that is tied to impunity with the highest degree in Sierra Leone.
August 2000 saw the United Nations Security Council passing of resolution 1315 on the establishment of a Special Court to indict those that bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law. After the war, the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) paid the perpetrators of heinous crimes to humanity for the mayhem and destruction of lives and properties on their compatriots, all in the name of peace and reconciliation.
While those indicted were tagged as bearing the greatest responsibilities, those who suffer the brunt of the war are living today without being compensated.
The nation’s quest for peace was enormous by then and all and sundry wanted nothing less than peace, so the people did all they could to achieve peace and tranquility.
When the war ended in 2002, as was declared by former President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, victims who suffered the chopping-off of their limbs by rebel fighters desired much in terms of securing their deserved justice.
The amputee-camp, which was at Aberdeen along Sir Samuel-Lewis Road in Freetown either officially or unofficially, saw a lot of international sympathy, resulting to donor funding. Today the amputee camp is no more and what we see is a resultant begging of alms attitude by those former occupants.
The amputee football team that used to be a success story is something else today as the struggle for financial assistant continues.
It is argued that structures are needed in place to have the amputees engaged in national development objectives geared towards the advancement of the country’s socio-economic prosperity.
In the name of peace and reconciliation, the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) was established by an act of parliament to cater for the social needs of Sierra Leoneans. It now remains a question of how much is NaCSA doing to reshape the lives of war victims in the country.
The establishment of the School for the Blind, the School for Deaf and Dumb, Cheshire Home for the mentally retarded, and SOS children’s homes were initiatives hatched long before the war to ensure that physically challenged persons become useful citizens with capability to contribute in the development of the country.
The scars of the eleven years war are still inevitably visible as the ashes of cataclysm are yet settling down. On this backdrop, the scars left by the civil war should be taken good care of to save the much stress of trauma that is commonplace with the victims.
One wonders, when looking at the present predicament of those military men and women who fought hard to restore sanity to this country. They are not just a completely abandoned case but are totally treated as downcasts in society.
Begging is not their cup of tea but situation is now forcing them to do the abhorring thing of their various lives.
Let’s live for one another.
By E. Awotelli-Cole
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