Saturday, 11 April 2015



Her name is Dana. She is about eight years old and has tears streaming down her face. She, along with her friends, has already lost parents, other friends and suffered more than any child should at her age. There are thousands of children like her all over Syria,  They are the lucky ones (if you can even call it that). Many other children have died or have been trained as soldiers.

In Yarmouk refugee camp an estimated 3,500 children are suffering from the result of being caught in the middle of a conflict between ISIS, government forces and various other factions all hell-bent on gaining control. There are also stories that the government forces are bombing schools. Many children have been taken out of school or are just too frightened to go for fear of attack.

There was the horrific incident in Peshawar, Pakistan where 132 school children were slaughtered by the Taliban in a "revenge" attack. Or at least that was the excuse they used. Truthfully it was just cold-blooded murder of innocent children.

We also have the equally tragic news out of Garissa in Kenya where 700 students were taken hostage. They were told by members of Al Shabaab to recite a passage from the Qu'ran. If they couldn't, they were shot where they stood. 150 people - mainly students - were killed and 79 people were injured.

And we have almost 2,400 "separated and unaccompanied" children in Nigeria because of the ongoing issues with Boko Haram.

Not all children die because of war; some die because of negligence. There are plenty of examples that I could cite here, but the one that remains most prominent in my mind is the children on the MV Sewol in Korea, who died because of the foolishness of the crew and the ferry company.

And of course, coming bang up-to-date, we have Andreas Lubitz, a man who deliberately crashed a German Wings plane into the Alps killing everyone on board; sixteen of them were school children who were on their way back from an exchange visit to Barcelona.

There is one thing in common with all these stories. All the victims were children of varying ages. Every one of them had their whole life ahead of them.

It seems so sad and tragic that children are so often the first victims when it comes to civil war and negligence. The question is: why?

Many of them are too young to understand the complexities of a war and even if they do, they do not deserve to die for it.

And regarding negligence - as in the Sewol - the adults set an appalling example to the children who looked up to them and obeyed them.

The number of young casualties due to war and negligence is just appalling and absolutely heartbreaking.

The question we need to be asking is why are children being made targets and scapegoats for the intolerance and inhumane actions of adults.  They are innocents and should not have to suffer.

They should live the carefree life that every child deserves.

Let's make this world a better place, If not for ourselves, then for future generations of children like Dana.

"You see the word through the eyes of a child and that makes you more human than any of us" ~ Denise Crosby