Poems and Poetry About Making The World a Better Place - Another Hero is Born Another Hero Dies

For The Little Boy From 1982

In 1982, when I was a fifteen year old freshman in high school, I was doing homework in my family's den while my father watched the local news broadcast, when looking up from my school books, I caught a glimpse of a child in the background of a news reporter's live report from somewhere in the Middle East.

The child, who appeared to be maybe a bit younger than myself, was standing in the midst of a group of very angry bearded men who were dressed from head to foot all in white, and who were chanting anti-American slogans as some other very angry looking men, were burning in effigy both the United States Flag. and some over-sized voodoo looking figures that were meant to be representations of Americans. The thing that made the split-second vision of that boy so interesting to me, was not only the fact that his beardless baby-face was just as contorted by anger as the faces of the white clad men who surrounded him, but the fact that he appeared to be the sole child protester, and how to me it seemed, he would have to have led a very lonely and sad life to be so angry.

That image was the inspiration for the original poem "Another Hero," which I wrote in my journal over the next couple of days.

Recently, while cleaning out my father's garage, I found a long-forgotten box in the rafters that contained some of my misplaced childhood and high school journals. In going through them, I stumbled again across both that poem and the memory of that adolescent boy. Wincing as I read the unpolished and sometimes juvenile sounding verses of my fifteen year old self, which I had once proudly believed to be one of my very best pieces, I was about to put the journal back into the box for another decade or two, when the memory of that boy, caused me to re-read my musings. With the surprise shock to my pride behind me, I saw that although I now felt the structure of the poem was disappointing, the clarity of my voice in the message I was trying to convey was still very relevant, and so decided that for that little boy from 1982, I would attempt again to tell his story and make someone else aware of his plight.

All over the world, throughout many nations and lands, children as young as six or seven years old are being conscripted, enslaved, and trained by terrorist factions of many different origins. These mere babies are taken from their parents, their families, their communities, and their homes, a large majority of them will never return home again. With their childhood stripped away, they are indoctrinated in hate, and forced to become the expendable foot soldiers of their captors cause, twisting them into heartless killers with no regard for human life and extinguishing the possibilities and the promise of what might have been.

This is child abuse. This is life abuse.

Your War - Our Lives, Protect Children's Rights Anti-Child Conscription Poster
Your War - Our Lives, Protect Children's Rights Anti-Child Conscription Poster | Source

Children Conscripted and Being Trained By Terrorists Around The World

Life Magazine gave the front page to the story of Palestinian child terrorists
Life Magazine gave the front page to the story of Palestinian child terrorists | Source
In the United States someone thought that it was funny to take a picture of their daughter dressed up like a terrorist and use it for their blog as a "cute" reference to their child-rearing blog...I can't help but wonder what message this is sending
In the United States someone thought that it was funny to take a picture of their daughter dressed up like a terrorist and use it for their blog as a "cute" reference to their child-rearing blog...I can't help but wonder what message this is sending | Source
Source
On May 30, 2011 The British Intelligence Chief  released a warning that Al-Qaeda was training children as young as 15 years old to carry out terrorist attacks in Great Britain.  This photo is an archive photo from November of 2007.
On May 30, 2011 The British Intelligence Chief released a warning that Al-Qaeda was training children as young as 15 years old to carry out terrorist attacks in Great Britain. This photo is an archive photo from November of 2007. | Source
A photograph taken in Palestine of a young Arab boy as he stands in front of Palestinian Fatah Terrorists wearing camouflage and a black ski-mask
A photograph taken in Palestine of a young Arab boy as he stands in front of Palestinian Fatah Terrorists wearing camouflage and a black ski-mask | Source

All Over the World, In Every Land

In the Gaza Strip region the lifeless body of a young casualty is carried through the streets
In the Gaza Strip region the lifeless body of a young casualty is carried through the streets | Source
Another young casualty in the war between the people of Israel and the Palestinians
Another young casualty in the war between the people of Israel and the Palestinians | Source
The Chechen  terrorist couple Umalat Magomedov & his 17 year old wife, Djennet Abdurahmanova from Dagestan,  Magomedov was killed by Russian Elite Forces in Dec 2009.  His young bride & another female terrorist died in a suicide bombing in March 2010
The Chechen terrorist couple Umalat Magomedov & his 17 year old wife, Djennet Abdurahmanova from Dagestan, Magomedov was killed by Russian Elite Forces in Dec 2009. His young bride & another female terrorist died in a suicide bombing in March 2010 | Source

Amongst the rubble

A small child plays

Toy gun in his hand

He spends his days

Invisible enemies

Instead of friends,

Games of war

Plotting revenge.

Daydreams of carnage

Part of his master-plan,

Awaiting the day

He becomes a man.

Stone cold demeanor

In broad daylight,

Tough as nails

Prepared to fight

No wide-eyed wonder,

No innocent glow,

No silly games,

Does this child know.

War torn city

Instead of school,

So he'll never learn

The golden rule.

Fire bombs and missiles

The night sky alight

A wide-eyed child

Is full of fright,

At night he screams

When no one hears

No mother comes

To wipe his tears,

No loving arms

To take him in,

He's only a child

Until it's morning again.

In the crowded street

The people gather,

Discussing war

When peace should matter.

"Death to Khadafi!"

"Ayatola must die!"

"Irish Catholics repent!"

The Protestants cry.

Angry and hateful

Are the words that he hears

Every day, every week,

Every month, every year.

"Osama bin Laden!"

"Death to the U.S.!"

Turmoil and chaos

All around him a mess

"Russia is wrong!"

Arabs or Jews?

Holy war or jihad

You are fighting for who?

All over the world

Across every land

A small child grows

Soon he'll be a man,

Seven, eight, nine

His birthday draws near

Anger, revenge, hatred, and fear,

From infant to child

His heart grows hard and cold

The wonder of innocence lost,

He grows bitter and old.

Fourteen, Fifteen, sixteen,

On a war ravaged street

A real gun in his hand,

See how we've taught him?

That child thinks he's a man.

Resenting an enemy

Reasons unknown,

See what we've done

How bent and twisted he's grown?

His seventeenth birthday

A bullet crashes through his head

Blood on the sidewalk,

Another hero is dead.

They carry his corpse

Lifeless through the streets,

Strangers chanting his name

A national outpouring of grief.

He died for his

Country, religion, cause,

Sacrificing what could have been,

And that which never was.

He's a martyr for his people

Today the favored son

Yes, he will be remembered,

Until the next one comes along.

When morning dawns

Another child plays

Amidst ruin and rubble

He spends his days

Imitating what he sees,

Is the game he plays for fun,

Hoping that just like his hero

Someday he might be the one.

He is there, up on the hill,

Toy gun in hand,

Waiting for the day

That they'll call him a man.

© 2011 Kristen Burns-Darling

More by this Author


Comments 25 comments

dariashakti profile image

dariashakti 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

This is wonderful! It reminded me of my experiences in Jerusalem when I was studying there in 1993 seeing children who had been raised in nothing but war. There is a center there called the Tantur Ecumenical Center that is working to bring children from both sides of the conflict together to help them learn about peace and fellowship rather than live in just a world of hate and destruction. Teaching peace is so important. Well done!


Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

Well done, indeed! You have the desire to make the world aware of what they are surrounded with, but fail to see. It takes a special heart to bleed for all of man and know we were never intended to live this way. Keep writing - keep shouting out loud - if even one listens and is changed it will be worth all of you effort!


Sylvia's Thoughts profile image

Sylvia's Thoughts 5 years ago from Southern California

What you've said is so true.However, we don't have to look to other countries to find this same thing happening to children. We can look right here in America. It's called 'racism'. Children are taught at a very early age to hate others solely for the color of their skin. They are taught that if someone is poor, homeless, or unemployed they are not worthy of compassion or understanding. We Americans are always looking to point the finger at someone else when we really should be looking at ourselves.


Scarface1300 profile image

Scarface1300 5 years ago

Fabulous!!!

I am so glad you never put it away for another decade. It says as much for today as for ten, and many years before this and I sadly presume many years after.

Thoughtful and genuine study of the way it is and probably always shall be.

Thank you for sharing.

Voted up useful and awesome + 1 new follower.

Well done my friend.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@dariashakti - Thank you so much for the generosity of your kind words and your time, they are always welcome and appreciated here! When I re-read the original version of this that I wrote when I was 15, I was shocked by how relevant it still was, and how sad it was that so little progress had been made in the past couple of decades, which is why I decided to dust it off and rework it. I sometimes wonder if we, the world community, will ever learn our lesson...Children, the next generation, they are the future, and children learn from imitating those before them. Nothing will ever change, if we don't change what we are teaching them. Thank you again!


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@ Poohgranma - Hi Sherri! Someone wise once told me that we can only change what we know, so in a small sense, I guess I do try to shine some light on things that some of the powers that be would rather remain in the shadows,especially the things that effect children, I really can't stand to see children being preyed upon and always hope that my writing about the atrocities some children endure will in some way help them. I just want the world to be a better place for my kids (really all kids) to grow up in. Guess it is the mom in me. Thank you so much my friend for your continued praise and support...They mean a lot...:-)


edmondsyd profile image

edmondsyd 5 years ago from Michigan

WOW! Very well done!


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@ Sylvia's Thoughts - Thank you so much for the generosity of your time and your comments, they are as always welcome and very appreciated! Racism and discrimination of any sort are absolutely deplorable, and you are right, it is a learned behavior, and also something that I have written about frequently, we must always be careful about what we are teaching our children, which is also the reason behind this piece....I am sorry if you felt that I was finger pointing at any particular country or sect of society, as that was not my intention, (unless you count all adults throughout the world, and here in the U.S. as well as one)This was intended to be about the seemingly perpetual cycle and recycling of violence that many of the world's children endure, and the senselessness and waste of that cycle, and about the enslavement of children by adults throughout the world community, for the purpose of fighting in the wars of those same adults, Something I realized was prevalent some twenty years ago, and have found is even more so today. My own great-grandparents fled their home in Lithuania to keep their young sons from being conscripted into the Russian Army during the pogroms, so this is a practice that has gone on for time immemorial, and a practice that no one wants to discuss because it is unpleasant, but that if it does not end, will only continue to perpetuate more hatred, racism, and violence. I am sorry if you felt that I was being one of "those Americans," (those who are so good at pointing the finger at the others,) I was speaking from the point of a member of the world community, and did include the U.S. in this (if you look through the pictures you will find a picture of a little American girl who is dressed like a terrorist, and the caption that shows disapproval) Although I really felt that I had conveyed my sentiment here, if I have offended you in any way, I am truly sorry and now wonder if maybe I have missed my mark. Thanks again as always for your time and your comments, they are always appreciated!


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@ Scarface 1300 - You are way too kind! Thank you so very much for the generosity of your time and your comments, and for the follow, I am always excited to meet a new friend, and especially a like-minded one! I have already taken a peek at your profile and your work, and I must say that I am impressed and will be hopping on over to delve deeper into your hubs as soon as time permits! Thank you again for your support, it is always welcome and always appreciated!


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@ edmondsyd - Thank you so very much for the generosity of your time and the kindness of your words, they are always welcome and appreciated!


gg.zaino profile image

gg.zaino 5 years ago from L'America

Hey KBD- a very nice look at the ravages of war and the profession of death.

i thank you for this piece of your thoughts- questions- and bafflement.

War and hate go side by side- just as does love and peace- problem is the haters seem always to outweigh the lovers of life and natural justice-

yet, and the irony is, all that hate feel they are the righteous in the eyes of their God- gods- or corner gang hinge pin.

Never lose your zest for the truly righteous cause- peace in your life K....

greg


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@ gg.zaino - You are very welcome, and thank-you for the generosity of your kind words and your time, they are as ever welcome and very very appreciated! While you are right, we are most definitely out numbered, we have two things they haven't got, we've got the power of the written word, and we've got heart. My mother taught me at a young age that they pen is mightier than the sword, while my father taught me that all rats and cockroaches will scurry away when you turn on the lights, so I believe that when we use the power of our words to shine a spot light on them, we will eventually win the war.

Again, thank you ever so much for your support, and say Hi to Elliot for me!


SusieQ42 5 years ago

I'm aware that some children are taught to kill at early ages. It's very sad that they are growing up with hatred in their hearts. Think of the children in our own country who are encouraged to hate! They grow up with many psychological problems. It is so sad...


Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 5 years ago from California

Wow K. this was so powerful and I thank you for sharing. It is so sad that somehow we all can't be on the same mission of peace but for many reasons it is not that simple. Especially sad when you consider that babies are not born with hatred. Good job! Rated up and awesome.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@ SusieQ42 - Thank you for the generosity of your time and your comments, they are always welcome and appreciated here. All over the world, children as young as six and seven years old are being yanked out of their homes, away from their families, and communities, and being conscripted to serve this or that terrorist faction as the totally expendable foot soldiers for that groups cause. Yes, it is true that we have in our own country organizations of hate-mongers, who are just as awful as any that we call "terrorist," but at least here in America, they have not, as of yet, been allowed to march into someone's home and forcibly take the children who live there, in America we still have a voice, and the out-cry would be too much. They choose instead to target the parents of the children as a part of their membership drive and then use "family events" to pull the children in. When I wrote this, it was from a "world community view" and included the U.S. as well as Ireland, Sri Lanka, the former Burma, Russia, Israel, Palestine, Iran, Beirut, etc...I hold the parents in the U.S. who thought that it was a good idea to dress their little daughter up as a terrorist, and then post it on-line, just as responsible for promoting hate as anyone else. The only way that we will ever eradicate things like racism and discrimination,

is to learn from the mistakes of the past, and teach the next generation tolerance, something that is pretty difficult to do when you are handing him/her an automatic weapon and telling them to shoot at one another. Hate begets hate and violence begets violence, and to stop one, we have to stop the other. Thanks again for your kindness, it is appreciated more than you know.

Kristen


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@ Chatcath - Thank you my friend for the generosity of your kindness, your time and your support, they are very welcome and appreciated here. We will never find a lasting world peace if we do not change what it is that we are teaching our children..and that means everyone. It seems like an overwhelming task, but I think that by shining a spot-light on it, maybe I can help a bit. Think how powerful the impact would be if one by one, in cities and countries all across the world, shone a light on it as well, The message would surely light the darkest hour, and maybe one more child could be saved.

I'm going to keep my lights on,

Thanks again for your kindness,

Kristen


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

....well if you can get Al Pacino to show up with his testament of 'fabulous' there's not much else that the truly humble epi-man can say other than 'hubfabulous' - and yes I love your style: simple, direct, unadorned ....but yet it packs such an emotional wallop and that is always the stuff of great writing and great writers, which you are, yesterday and today!


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

Good Morning Epi! What lovely words you have greeted me with this morning, perfect way to start the day! I am glad that you enjoyed this, and as always I am grateful for your gracious comments, they mean a lot coming from someone who I respect so much.


feenix profile image

feenix 5 years ago

K. Burns Darling, this is a wonderfully-written hub that reveals one of the very unpleasant realities in this world of ours.

And I must admit there were times in my life when I went to battle against young boys -- very dangerous and deadly young boys.


Fennelseed profile image

Fennelseed 5 years ago from Australia

Children robbed of their right to be children. Children who grow up never knowing love, peace and freedom. Children who grow up believing they are expendable for their cause, that fighting and violence is normal and life means nothing. My heart aches for them. Thank you for speaking openly and bluntly about these issues. A very revealing and ugly, but true hub.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@feenix - Sorry that it has taken so long to get back to you on this, I've been away from my computer for several days, and am a little behind in things....Your comment reminded me of something my dad, (a life-long Marine) always told me about war..."No real soldier every really wants to go to war, but sometimes war is a necessary evil." Those boys were a part of that evil. I will be happier when there is peace, but until then I am bright enough to know that freedom has to be protected...Thank you for the generosity of your time, your comments, and most especially for your service!


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@Fennelseed - Thank you for the generosity of your time and your comments they are always welcome and appreciated! I agree with you, it is an ugly truth, but one that if left in the darkness would only continue to grow.... Perhaps with a little light shinning on it, it will one day become an ugly truth of the past! Thanks again!


feenix profile image

feenix 5 years ago

K. Burns Darling,

Thank you for thanking me.

And your dad was right. No one hates war more than a soldier does.

In fact, when I was in Vietnam, there were times when I was involved in a heavy fire fight - and while shooting and fighting, I would say to myself, There has to be a better way of people settling their differences than this.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@feenix - I apologize for the delay in my response, my father has been seriously ill, and caring for him during his recovery has kept me from both my computer, and from hub pages.

I have to agree with you....Sometimes it seems to be a bit like putting out a fire with gasoline, or picking a flower with a machete...

Hopefully one day we will find a path to a better way, until then, the believers and the dreamers and the poets and bards will just have to keep trying to change world opinion one word, one prayer, one brush stroke, and one song at a time...

Thank you again for the generosity of your time and your comments, they are always welcome and appreciated!

Kristen


jami l. pereira 5 years ago

An awesome piece voted up and i think that it hits a cord with everyone , I loved this Hub , hardcore ,and brutally honest, but in another sense so sickening, in a time when people should preach and practice "peace , love, and harmony ..they preach just the opposite , greed and prejudice is an ugly ,ugly thing , Though the devil at work doing his ugly deeds ,a sad shame people wont wake up and see what is really important . Thanks for the read , great Hub!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working