Tuesday, February 03, 2009

it would be so nice...

According to the United Nations, children in 50 countries are currently growing up in the midst of war. Needless to say, war tears the childhood happiness apart. In the twentieth century, children have increasingly become the target of oppressive regimes. It is alarming to comprehend the magnitude of the phenomenon: half the world’s refugee population are children. Weakened by the effects of war and more than a decade of economic sanctions, 500,000 Iraqi children are malnourished, it says. For example, the death rate of children under five years of age is already 2.5 times greater than it was in 1990, before the Gulf War.

But war spares no children in areas it engulfs. For the refugee child, for the child who has been internally displaced, for boys and girls who have been abducted and sexually abused. Fights, terrorism and all-out conflict are based in real or imagined scenarios where each side see themselves as victims. Unlike interstate conflict, which often mobilizes national unity and strengthens social cohesiveness, violent conflict within a state weakens its social fabric. It divides the population by undermining interpersonal and communal trust, destroying the norms and values that underlie cooperation and collective action for the common good, and increasing the likelihood of communal strife. 

The successive failure of the state to safeguard basic human wellbeing undermines the trust that is critical to the development and maintenance of the social fabric. These children justified the reason for revenge. You have harmed me or those I love, so I can righteously harm you and yours which is a social context of tit-for-tat. Unwittingly, as conflicts and wars rage on in places like Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine and countries value geopolitical posturing rather than true humanitarian concern, these children are dragged into a complex network of revenge justice resulting from children having to flee their home, and who has been separated from his family, the horrors of war are as real as the child who has been involved in hostilities. So before people choose sides, choose patriotism over objectivity, blind loyalty to allies rather than facts, think about the children and consider them...just this once...

"We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends"

~Martin Luther King, Jr.

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