I have been a part of the IHL Action Campaign for four years. I enjoy being a team leader and participating in the training process. Each year, I become just as excited as the first time I participated in Raid Cross, the Action Campaign’s main training activity. Every time I put on the military uniform and prepare for the “Prisoners of War” post in Raid Cross, I get a rush of adrenaline. I begin to think of how the participants will react and ways to relax and get into character. As each Raid Cross post ends, I can see participants make connections to real life situations. I see them reflect on and express how much they did not know about the topic. Sometimes they mention how TV shows and movies mislead us into believing that war is all about killing and getting the job done.
When I think back to my first training as a high school student when IHL was not a topic of interest for me, I remember realizing that most people have no idea that there are rules in war. I even asked my parents some questions based on what I learned that day, and their answers were based on their personal thoughts about what was right or what they saw on TV. It made the Campaign that much more meaningful to me – that is why I continue to participate.
Each year, the team dynamic is different and the Action Campaigns have their own identity. This year, I am excited to create a Campaign focused on the subject of torture. I believe it is a topic that will interest students and shock them when they hear the facts. We are currently working to put the Campaign together, and I know it will be a great success. After four years, I continue to learn more about IHL and hope to participate in future Campaigns.
Author: Craig Colbert, Team Leader, Eastern Pennsylvania Region
*The purpose of the IHL Action Campaign is for young people to teach their peers about the importance of IHL, as well as issues related to healthcare, torture, and humanitarianism.