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Soldiers are not killers

12-02-2003 Article, Mtavari Gazeti newspaper, by Salome Jvebenava

Article published in the Mtavari Gazeti newspaper, Georgia

 By Salome Jvebenava  


 Childrens' Thoughts  

" In my opinion, soldiers are not killers. They simply carry out their duties in the name of a nation or their God. Whatever they do, they should bear in mind that they protect peace and serve the future generation. Any soldier should follow the example of our past heroes, who steadfastly fought against enemies but never lost their human nature. A soldier's dignity becomes evident when he does not hurt his adversary who is hurt and cannot fight anymore. Let's recall Nikoloz Gostashabishvili who earned his enemies'respect through his dignified behaviour. Each soldier should have in mind as a guiding principle the words of the wise Ilia ( Ilia Chachavadze, a famous Georgian writer and Statesman of the XIX and XX century): " Defeat your enemy with kindliness, avoid bloody revenge, better to overcome with big-heartedness than with savage acts " . These lines are written in a joint essay called " Appeal to Soldiers " by six pupils from the 8th grade. The essay won in the competition " Even Wars Have Limits " , which was jointly organized by the Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross    and the Ministry of Education of Georgia.

The citywide competition was held within the framework of the educational program, which is being implemented by the ICRC since the 1996-1997 academic year, aiming at familiarising pupils with principles underlying international humanitarian law (IHL). The program is designated for 6th and 7th grade pupils. Two school-manuals have been published since: " Know Yourself " and " What Enmity Has Destroyed " .

The competition was held at the 43rd Secondary School of Tbilissi. Pupils from 8th forms from different schools worked in teams. Three themes were given to each group. The groups could either write an essay or make a drawing. The basic thematic is about avoiding unnecessary suffering in times of armed conflict, principally of those people not involved in the fighting. The competition's main objective was to demonstrate what pupils had learned in the filed of IHL and their attitude towards humanitarian values.

" 65 pupils from 10 secondary schools in Tbilissi participated in the competition. First, we showed the children parts of films about the thematic of war. After we had some discussions, very vivid ones, that proved how much these children are aware of the basics of the IHL, and support its principles. A number of essays and drawings were directly linked to some of the examples in the books and the films shown before, others were more about recent events in Georgia, such as the elections " , said Nino Gvaramadze,  Coordinator of Education Programs of the ICRC.  

The work of the participants was evaluated by the jury. 4 groups out of 12 won main prices. However, no one was left without a gift.

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