Sunday, 27 July 2014

What it Takes to Live In A War-Prone Zone - A Child Story

“It was a miracle!! I survived another day…
            I was just an inch away when a bullet was about to hit my body, I jumped. I was scared, very scared, and my friend too. We were surrounded by walls. So we jumped over walls and ran away." 

“Nidal recalled how his father was sleeping and his mother doing chores, when people with their faces covered burst in. They entered and started beating my father with sticks. All of them were beating him. One of them was kicking him. I was hiding in the room so they wouldn't take me."

The WANA (West Asia-North Africa) region is searing under violence and war and when I think of small children there, goose bumps clings to my body. When I compare my situation here in India, I find it a lot better (even better than in China). I am happy here in my own life with all sorts of ‘comfort’ amenities and I have the power to complain to the government when things do not go as per my wishes. Since India is a democratic country, I can waive the flag high and sit on a dharna at Jantar Mantar to fight for my rights or even for any other petty matter. (People at Jantar Mantar agitate just for the sake of agitation). But when I think of the wrath that wars bring to such unfortunate children, my heart cries silently at their plight. The escalation of hostilities has a disproportionate impact on children in armed conflict. Remember the 223 schoolgirls in northeast Nigeria abducted by the armed rebel group Boko Haram?

IN on-going conflicts, these angelic children live under daily cloud of violence. The sound of bombings, the deaths of family members, the blood-stained bodies inside the debris all around leave them bereft and scarred for life. If got caught on the street, they are subject to sexual violence. In such volatile areas, generations of young children do not know what it is like to go to school, to study or to dream of a better future. In all, war destabilizes the very foundation of children’s lives. They usually undergo physical, sexual and emotional/psychological traumas that shatter their world.

Children are dependent on the care, attention and empathy of the adults. But these relations are disrupted in the war time due to loss of parents or emotional preoccupation of parents in protecting and finding a decent subsistence for the family. This ultimately culminates into changing the life trajectory and it takes several of years for the wounds to get healed and start a normal life, if ever that opportunity comes in.
There used to be a time when wars were fought far away from the residential areas in the open spaces/battlefields. Now, modern conflicts target civilians and approximately 90% of casualties include harmless women and children.  One has to stop at some point because in most cases, the war wagers suffer nothing but their heinous acts take away from a child his CHILDHOOD, THE GOLDEN PERIOD OF ONE’S LIFE!

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