2015 – Most Philosophical 7th Grader in America:

Nicolas Bolivar, Florida.

Landmines in Colombia bring out the worst and best in people

My parents are from Colombia and we usually spend some time there visiting family and friends. Last time we were there I learned about something terrible it has been happening since 1990. As a result of the war between the guerrilla groups and the government, civilians have been greatly affected by landmines. A lot of the recorded mine victims were children. Children in rural areas often stumble upon landmines while playing. But believe or not landmines in Colombia bring out the worst and the best in people. There are several non-for-profit organizations that spend all their time and resources in helping the victims of landmines. Here we see how violence and compassion interact with each other and affect society one way or another.

I got interested in this issue and decided to read more about it. Since 1990, there have been close to 40,000 documented incidents involving landmines in Colombia, according to a report released last year by a presidential program designed to monitor and deal with Colombia’s landmine problem Just under 10% of all recorded mine victims were children. Many kids in Colombia have to face this deadly experience while they are walking to school or playing out in the country side of their little towns. Obviously, these kids did not expect this to happen to them, since they are no involve in the war, but violence does not discriminate them. It is not fair these kids have to suffer so much and do not have a good childhood like most of the kids in other parts of the world.

On the other hand, I also learned that this terrible situation brings out a lot of compassion within the Colombian society. For example, there is an organization called Teleton that helps people who have been victims of landmines. These people are in need of physical rehabilitation and emotional support. Teleton has a huge fundraising event once a year to get enough money to benefit the whole community with disabilities and to build a nationwide network of clinics. In this event they tap into the whole country’s compassion and ask them to support their organization. Teleton has given people with disabilities for more than 20 years a very good reason to feel happy and stop suffering from this terrible situation. I also read about a guy named Oscar who lost one of his legs and even though he did not have any money Teleton have him his prosthesis, helped him graduate from high school and gave him a job as a receptionist in one of their clinics.

This experience to me was very rough but eye opening. I found a good reason to help people in distress when I get older. Compassion usually comes after violence. It is hard to find compassion without violence. I conclude that if we look deep enough in every violent act we will find some type of compassion as a result of it.



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