Thursday, May 5, 2011

Children and War

We are human beings with some control over our shared destiny. The world is getting smaller. We are all becoming closer. I have no misconceptions about being able to end war anytime soon. However, is it not possible for all of us to resolve that children should never ever die in a war?

According to an April 14, 2009 article in The Telegraph, of the people killed in US air strikes whose gender could be determined, 46 percent were women and 39 percent were children. The same article states that a sizable number of children killed in Iraq were killed as part of warfare between ethnic and religious rivals.

Regardless of whether its smart bombs or sectarian bullets, the death of children is wrong. It doesn’t matter if today’s religions consider it a sin or not. When I look around the world I don’t see that today’s major religions are making the world better—in fact, their effect is quite the opposite.

A 1996 report from UNICEF titled “Children in War” stated that “Recent developments in warfare have significantly heightened the dangers for children. During the last decade, it is estimated (and these figures, while specific, are necessarily orders of magnitude) that child victims have included:

2 million killed;

4-5 million disabled;

12 million left homeless;

more than 1 million orphaned or separated from their parents;

some 10 million psychologically traumatized.”

That was from 15 years ago.

And then there are the drug cartels. Last April 9 The Washington Post ran an article titled “Mexican drug cartels targeting and killing children”. Read it. The details are abhorrent.

For children who survive war, there’s The Children and War Foundation. You may be interested in finding out more about them and other similar organizations.

From Qaddafi’s grandchildren last weekend, to all those kids killed in Vietnam, to those Hitler destroyed in camps, to the American Indian children massacred by the US Calvary, to the children Herod killed, to all children killed since the beginning of time, killing children for any reason is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. There are some things that should be sacred globally. Loving and nurturing children should be high on that sacred list.

The point I’m trying to make is this: I believe we are supposed to evolve and progress into becoming a peaceful and passive species. If others also believe that, can we not choose to progress toward that eventuality? Is it not a mixture of belief and destiny that controls our fate anyway?

And can we not at least resolve to try to protect children as a step toward eradicating war forever and as a step toward that peaceful, passive destiny?

We may not be able to bring peace to the world, but can we not begin to bring limits to war? To scale it back? I may sound naïve. I may be naïve. But to change things for the better, we must start with what is considered impossible.

The global pro-peace, anti-war movement is within all of us. We just have to choose to follow it and build it. It may not be easy, and it may take a long time, but it can be done.

The first, arguably, attainable goal we must make toward realizing that goal is: no more children will be killed in wars for oil. Maybe we should begin counting the price of a barrel of oil not in dollars, but in the number of bodies of dead children.

And we can strengthen that decision by choosing to permanently move away from oil for all its uses and purposes.