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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'New wars: forgotten warriors': why have girl fighters been excluded from Western representations of conflict in Sierra Leone?
Author:Macdonald, AliceISNI
Periodical:Africa Development: A Quarterly Journal of CODESRIA (ISSN 0850-3907)
Geographic term:Sierra Leone
child soldiers
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/24484000
Abstract:Since the end of the Cold War, there is a new Western vocabulary depicting modern conflict as chaotic and callous. Child soldiers are seen as emblematic element of the 'new wars', yet the presence of girl fighters has been continually ignored by the international community and neglected in academic writing. When girls have attracted attention, it has been purely as victims. Yet during the civil war in Sierra Leone girls made up 25 percent of the child soldiers and 8 percent of the total number of fighters. This is a significant figure, given their invisibility in this conflict. Using Sierra Leone as a case study, this essay analyses how the Western representation of girls as victims plays into the Western construction of Africa as a place needful of military and humanitarian intervention. By looking at discourses of gender and youth, the author examines how the construction of the girl child is integral to maintaining the myth of the young 'aggressive' African male and the white 'saviour'; both essential for 'new wars' and the humanitarian industry. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]