‘Those who say that children must not be frightened may mean two things. They may mean (1) that we must not do anything likely to give the child those haunting, disabling, pathological fears against which ordinary courage is helpless: in fact, phobias. His mind must, if possible, be kept clear of things he can’t bear to think of. Or they may mean (2) that we must try to keep out of his mind the knowledge that he is born into a world of death, violence, wounds, adventure, heroism and cowardice, good and evil. If they mean the first I agree with them: but not if they mean the second. The second would indeed be to give children a false impression and feed them on escapism in the bad sense. There is something ludicrous in the idea of so educating a generation which is born to the … atomic bomb. Since it is so likely that they will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker’. – Clive S. Lewis, Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories (San Diego: Harvest Books, 2002), 31.


In June and July 2007, Waging Peace researcher Anna Schmitt conducted a three week fact-finding mission to Eastern Chad. The aim of the mission was to assess the humanitarian, human rights and security situation in the region and to collect testimonies from Darfuri refugees and Displaced Chadians.

While collecting testimonies from adults, women told Anna how their children had witnessed horrendous events when their villages were being attacked. This prompted Anna to talk to the children. She gave the children aged 6 to 18 paper and pencils and asked them what their dreams were for the future and what their strongest memory was.

When the children handed Anna their drawings, she was shocked to see the details of their memories of the attacks. While a handful of children had submitted drawings of daily life in the village or in the refugee camp, the majority of the drawings described the attacks on their village by Sudanese Government forces and their allied Janjaweed militia. Many of the drawings depict adult men being killed, women being shot, beaten and taken prisoner, babies being thrown on fires and Government of Sudan helicopters and planes bombing civilians.

The five hundred drawings collected by Waging Peace amount to a form of criminal evidence from silent witnesses. The killings, bombing and looting shown in the drawings directly contradict the Government of Sudan’s version of events over the last four years of bloodshed. The pattern that emerges from these drawings corroborates what we know has been taking place in Darfur and shows a worryingly similar pattern of attacks developing in Eastern Chad.

The drawings will be exhibited in London and throughout the world to raise awareness about the crisis in Darfur. They will also form part of a submission of evidence to the International Criminal Court which is investigating crimes taking place in Darfur.

Drawing 1:

This boy was 9 when his village in the area of Aishbarra, Darfur, was attacked in 2003 by the Sudanese Government forces and Janjaweed militia. The drawing shows houses burning, villagers being shot and even amputated. The villagers that are attacked are coloured in black, while the attackers have lighter (orange) skin – showing the ethnic character of the attacks (ie Arabs attacking ‘black Africans’ – in this case Massalit). In the bottom right of the drawing are two young men, attached by the neck, led away by a janjaweed fighter. These boys could be taken into slavery, or may become child soldiers.

Drawing 2:

This young boy was ten when his village in the area of Aishbarra, Darfur, was attacked in 2003 by the Sudanese Government-allied Janjaweed militia. The drawing shows fleeing civilians stopped by the Janjaweed. The civilian men are put in a row to be shot. One man is shot. This method is often used by the Janjaweed as a means of psychological torture, killing some of the men and not others, leaving the women to watch helplessly. One woman and one man are shown with tears falling down their cheeks. In the bottom left hand corner of the drawing, a Janjaweed is searching the men’s suitcases for belongings to loot. Once again, the skin colour of the victims and the attackers is different, reflecting the ethnic character of the attacks. The attackers are on worse-back and in machinegun-mounted pick up trucks, both widely used by the Janjaweed militia.

Drawing 3:

This young boy was 11 when his village in the area of Aishbarra, Darfur, was attacked by the Janjaweed in 2003. This drawing depicts a man shot to pieces by the Janjaweed militia.The attackers are on camel and horse backs, clearly identifying them as Janjaweed. They nonetheless are wearing Sudanese Government uniforms (red insignia on the shoulder and army outfits), showing the clear link between the Sudanese Government and the Janjaweed militia, which are armed, trained and equipped by the Sudanese Government. The skin colour of the attackers and the victim is yet again different, the Janjaweed having lighter skin than the attacked civilian.

Drawing 4:

This young boy was 9 when his village in the area of Aishbarra, Darfur, was attacked in 2003 by Sudanese Government forces and Janjaweed militia. In the drawing, two women and a boy are shown fleeing an attack by Janjaweed in two machinegun-mounted pick up trucks and Sudanese forces in a tank. Houses in the village are set ablaze. The Janjaweed and Sudanese forces are shooting at the three civilians and the boy is hit in the leg. The fact that these are women and children who are being shot at clearly shows that the attackers are targeting civilians. The use of a tank in the attack is particularily interesting as the Sudanese Government has consistently denied using such heavy weaponry in Darfur.

Drawing 5:

This young boy was 8 when he had to flee his village in Darfur. In this drawing he shows Janjaweed and Sudanese Government troops working together (bottom half of the drawing), and an SLA solider killing a Sudanese Government soldier (top half of the drawing). Interestingly, a Sudanese flag is drawn on the tank, clearly identifying it as from the Sudanese Government.

Drawing 6.1:

This young boy was 17 when his village was attacked in 2003. In this three panel drawing, he describes the attacker getting ready, the attack of the village (burning houses, dead bodies) and the displacement caused by the attack.

Drawing 6.2

Drawing 6.3:

Drawing 7:

This boy was 8 when his village in Darfur was attacked in 2004. His drawing describes this attack, where Janjaweed forces (drawn on horse backs) and Sudanese forces (in vehicles and tanks) worked together to burn his village, kill many civilians (shown lying on the ground) and lead to the displacement of the survivors).

Drawing 8:

This picture was drawn by a young Chadian boy in a camp for displaced persons in Eastern Chad. His drawing describes the attack on his village by Janjaweed militias from Sudan. On the top left hand corner of the drawing is written ‘ataque village’ (French for ‘attack of the village’). The attackers, wearing military uniforms and on camels are shooting civilians with machine guns and burning their houses. Bullets are coming from all over. Next to each civilian that is shot is the word ‘Morts’ which is the plural of ‘dead’ in French.

Drawing 9:

This young boy was 8 when his village in Darfur was attacked in 2003 by Janjaweed and Sudanese armed forces. He is now 12 and living in a refugee camp in Eastern Chad. In this drawing the attackers, on camel and horse backs and in armed vehicles, are setting the houses on fire and shooting at civilians from all corners (note how the bullets are crossing each others paths). The villagers are also fighting back with spears and arrow, while the Janjaweed and Sudanese forces are attacking them with machine guns. The skin colour of the attackers is lighter than that of the victims, clearly denoting the ethnic aspect of the attacks.

Drawing 10:

This picture was drawn by a young Chadian boy in a camp for displaced persons in Eastern Chad. His drawing describes the attack on his village by Janjaweed militias from Sudan. The whole village is set on fire and there are body parts scattered in the right of the drawing. Next to the body parts, the boy wrote ‘Mourire Jan de village’ (Mourir gens du village) which is the French for ‘the people from the village are killed’. Under the attackers in the left of the picture is written ‘janjinwite’, clearly identifying the attackers as the Sudanese-Government allied Janjaweed forces.

Drawing 11:

This young girl was 11 when her village in Darfur was attacked in 2004. The drawing, depicting an attack by the Sudanese government and the janjaweed forces, contains small explanations within the drawing. On the bottom left, she writes: ‘The Sudanese government soldiers entered the village on camels’. On the bottom write, under a tank: ‘heavy artillery’. Under the plane, she writes ‘the airplane bombs are dropped over the house’.

Drawing 12:

This young boy was 15 when his village in Darfur was attacked by Janjaweed and Sudanese armed forces in 2004. Houses are set on fire and civilians are shot dead and thrown into the river. Behind the drawing, he has written ‘Look at these pictures carefully, and you will see what happened in Darfur. Thank you’.

Drawing 13:

This boy was 9 when his village in Darfur was attacked by Sudanese Government forces and Janjaweed militias in 2003. This drawing describes in detail some of the exactions committed by the Janjaweed (on foot and on horses) and the Sudanese forces (in tanks, machine gun mounted vehicles and planes). At the top of the picture a boy is thrown into a fire. In the middle, a man has a bag over his head before being shot. A Soldier in a ‘technical’ shoots a civilian. At the bottom, a soldier appears to be cutting a man’s head off. Women, with hands tied behind them are being marched off at gun point. A woman with her possessions on her head leaves with her 2 children, pursued by 2 soldiers. A Government plane is bombing the village and setting the houses on fire.

Drawing 14:

The young boy was 10 when his village in Darfur was attacked in 2003. Sudanese Government forces in pick up trucks, helicopters and airplanes and Janjaweed militias on horsebacks are seen attacking a village.In the left of the drawing, an antonov is bombing the village, putting fire to the huts. Sudanese forces on the ground and perched in trees are targeting young women, men and children. Three women are tied up and taken away by a Sudanese soldier while men are killed and thrown into the valley.

Drawing 15:

This young boy describes the attack by Sudanese Government forces and Janjaweed militias on his village in Darfur. In the top of the drawing, a Sudanese helicopter is shown bombing the village, setting houses on fire and killing civilians and a donkey. Under the houses, the young boy wrote ‘village on fire’. A Sudanese soldier and Janjaweed forces are shooting and killing at fleeing civilians. Under the drawing of armed men on horseback, is written ‘Janjaweed’.

Drawing 16:

In this drawing, a young girl from Darfur shows the peaceful life in her village being disrupted by a violent attack by Sudanese Government forces and the Janjaweed militia. Some villagers are seen herding cattle and sheep or sitting under trees. But this sense of calm is contrasted by Sudanese airplanes and helicopters bombing the village and setting fire to the houses. Government forces in pick up trucks and Janjaweed on horse and camel backs are shooting at civilians.

Drawing 17:

This drawing clearly depicts an attack by Sudanese government forces on a village in Darfur. Three airplanes and a helicopter with Sudanese Government markings are hovering above the village, with one of the planes shown dropping a bomb. The huts are on fire as villagers are seen fleeing.

Drawing 18:

This drawing describes an attack by Sudanese Government forces on the village in Eastern Chad. Sudanese armed forces, identifiable by their berets and uniforms, arrive in the village on machinegun mounted pick up trucks and by foot. They shoot at the fleeing population that only has arrows to protect itself, while the houses are set alight.

Drawing 19:

This young boy drew an attack by Sudanese Government forces on his village in Darfur. Sudanese soldiers on foot, in elaborate pick up trucks and in tanks shoot at the village while three helicopters set fire to the houses. A mother and her two children are seen fleeing.

Drawing 20:

This young girl describes an attack on her village in Darfur. In this drawing the attackers (Sudanese army and Janjaweed militia) are drawn with a blue top and orange trousers, while the targeted civilians are dressed in green and purple. A Sudanese helicopter drops bombs on the village while armed men on horses, camels and by foot are shown shooting civilians, stabbing them and setting fire to their homes. Next to each dead person is a cross.

Click here to read the article in the Independent about ‘Drawings from Darfur’.

[HT: Waging Peace]

Here’s some advice about relating to ‘younger people’ from Karl Barth to his friend Carl Zuckmayer:

  1. Realize that younger people of both sexes, whether relatives or close in other ways, have a right to go their own ways according to their own (and not your) principles, ideas, and desires, to gain their own experiences, and to find happiness in their own (and not your) fashion.
  2. Do not force upon them, then, your own example or wisdom or inclinations or favors.
  3. Do not bind them in any way to yourself or put them under any obligation.
  4. Do not be surprised or annoyed or upset if you necessarily find that they have no time, or little time, for you, that no matter how well-intentioned you may be toward them, or sure of your cause, you sometimes inconvenience and bore them, and they casually ignore you and your counsel.
  5. When they act in this way, remember penitently that in your own youth you, too, perhaps (or probably) acted in the same way toward the older authorities of the time.
  6. Be grateful for every proof of genuine notice and serious confidence they show you, but do not expect or demand such proofs.
  7. Never in any circumstances give them up, but even as you let them go their own way, go with them in a relaxed and cheerful manner, trusting that God will do what is best for them, and always supporting and praying for them.
– Carl Zuckmayer, A Late Friendship: The letters of Karl Barth and Carl Zuckmayer (Translated by Geoffrey W. Bromiley; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982), 45.
[HT’s: Travis; Image is of Carl Zuchmayer with his family, Berlin 1928]

I found this over at Bad Dad Radio. I haven’t laughed so much in ages, so I thought I’d repost it here. [Make sure you’re sitting down].

Thinking of Having Kids? Do this 11 step program first!

Lesson 1
1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the newspaper.
5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2
Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their…
1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child’s breast feeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior. Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3
A really good way to discover how the nights might feel…
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can’t get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4
Can you stand the mess children make? To find out…
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5
Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this – all morning.

Lesson 6
Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don’t think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don’t look like that.
1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7
Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week’s groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys.

Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8
1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9
Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you’re thinking What’s ‘Noggin’?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10
Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying ‘mommy’ repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each ‘mommy’; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this
tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11
Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the ‘mommy’ tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

I’m facing a potential crisis with my soon-to-be-two-year-old daughter. She prefers Colin Buchanan’s Follow the Saviour to Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited. Now it’s not that I don’t like Colin; in fact, I reckon the guy (and his music, and his theology) is awesome. But I’m trying to introduce my daughter to the classics, the greats of music, like Dylan and Bach. (For the record, she really likes Bach; it’s just Dylan, and Iris DeMent she won’t listen to for more than a track or two. She definitely takes after her mother here!). I sometimes go the bribe compromise and play some of Colin’s more adult albums, like Hard Times or Edge of the Kimberley.

My questions to fellow parents are: 1. ‘Is this a crisis I really need to avert?’ 2. Is Colin part of the necessary diet of milk (albeit milk of the best quality) through which one must progress in order to get to the meat (like Bach)? 3. If so, are there other flavours of milk that your kids (and you) are enjoying at the moment?

[This is a repost from Per Crucem ad Lucem]

BBC Radio 4 will be hosting a 4-week series about parenting called Bringing up Britain which starts this Wednesday 2 April at 8pm. It will be presented by Mariella Frostrup.

[Note: I’m not sure if those outside of Britain will be able to listen online]

Trevor has posted a helpful piece on The challenges of choosing books for children.

What criteria do you use for selecting books for your kids?

Sure we need to ask about reading levels, enjoyment and appropriate content regarding the child’s development. I also want to be asking questions about …

  • How does this book foster my child’s imagination?
  • Does this book support or undermine some of the values I’m trying to instill in her?
  • Is the artwork good, beautiful and true?
  • Is this a book that she might enjoy reading on their own?
  • Will I enjoy it? Will I look forward to reading it the 30th time?

What criteria do you use for selecting books for your kids?