Safe removal of children a must in war
There are times when I’m not able to focus on the news, particularly when war situations are being shown. The sight of tiny children, wounded and outright killed, or traumatized by the death of their parents and siblings is an overwhelming picture of the real damages of war. The recent newscasts showing the war in the Gaza strip are enough to make one wonder if we will ever overcome the need of one group of humans to settle their disputes with another by killing as many as possible of each other and by wounding the souls of those who somehow survive.
I try to imagine how my smallest grandchild, 2-year old Charlotte, would react to oncoming rocket fire. I’m sure that, first and foremost, she would be terrified by the noise, but in the end, her fear would be ratcheted up by the reaction she would see in the adults and older children around her. Then if and when the rocket struck our home, the subsequent collapse of the walls and any injuries to those around her would lead to absolute panic and horror. A story of the young children found among the bodies of the adults around them froze my heart.
Surely, it stands to reason that if we have any hopes for peace in the future, we must protect and teach our children how to live in peace. The lessons that young children in war are learning about the horrors that exist do not bode well for future peace—particularly in parts of the world with unstable governments. The immediate crisis is now in the Gaza strip, although different crises crop up with dismaying frequency.
The Women’s Refugee Commission reports that more than 900 Palestinians, including civilians, are dead and about 3,500 people have been wounded. The people in Gaza cannot leave because Israel and Egypt have sealed the borders. The UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, reports that the war is hurting women and children the most. Children make up more than half Gaza’s population. Humanitarian agencies are making urgent pleas to ensure civilian access to medical aid and food, water and shelter.
Surely, there is something to be done to remove the children from such harm. I’m not making any judgments about the right or wrong of the war. Apparently, the militants in Gaza were making daily rocket attacks on Israel endangering its civilian population bringing the bombardment upon themselves. However, this was not the action of the children and other innocent civilians who are being used as shields for the militant members of Hamas.
One of my favorite mini-series on PBS is “Foyle’s War,” which is about a policeman in the countryside of England during World War II. I have DVD copies of the episodes and enjoy watching them at my convenience. I was reminded recently in one of the episodes, that the children living in London were relocated to the countryside for safety during the intensive bombing of that city. They didn’t leave the city with their parents in many cases but were sent to the homes of people living in the country so they could escape the horrific effects of bombing. Surely, something like this could be arranged for the children in the current war in Gaza. The problem, of course, is finding a place for them and in persuading the ruling governments to allow their temporary removal.
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