By Nasser Ul Islam
Children are, no doubt, delicate flowers of a garden that give fragrance and happiness to all who meet or interact with them. But have you ever imagined the conditions of the children living in a conflict zone? Have you ever thought who cares for them? Isn’t it a harsh reality that they are the worst victims of a war or conflict and violence?
We are living in the so called global or modern and a civilized world where every passing event is measured in terms of security, peace and stability. But is our next generation safe? Are they at peace? Are the so called biggest democracies of the world ensuring peace, stability and development of these priceless assets? All these and similar other questions are in the minds of educated people, in general, and innocent children in particular.
Whether it is Kashmir, Palestine, Syria or Pakistan, children’s’ futures are ransomed and held at the altar of pellets, bombings, target killings or through educational means, by the hands of so called democratic world.
The condition of children is the worst of all. They don’t even have basic rights. The Army Public School tragedy in Pakistan, for instance, reminds us of the great agony of conflict and its terrible effect on children. What was the crime of these children? Closer home, the recent pellet tragedy in our own paradise left hundreds of innocent students and children blind. What was the crime of Insha Mushtaq? What was the crime of Junaid who got martyed?
We all know what Israel is doing in Palestine. We also know the torture and killing of thousands of children in Syria by bombings. We also know about the atrocities on Rohingya Muslims. All these points raised here are for only reminding these world powers to open their eyes and break this inhuman silence on this grave humanitarian issue.
Children are the mirrors of society and they reflect its deepest yearnings. Consider an example. I, recently, watched a video uploaded by Press TV on Facebook. In the video, a boy, barely eight years old, 8 years, was being interviewed. He was asked, ‘Why are you cleaning the grave of Burhan Wani?’ The boy answered: ‘Burhan was our hero. He was fighting for freedom. He would have given us freedom but he got martyred before freedom’.
All this reflects the theme of contemporary politics. Instead of providing a safe and peaceful environment, rulers subjugate people and go to extremes for power’s sake. This affects children more intensely than other cohorts- often times psychologically, emotionally and educationally. Their entire psycho-emotional universe then gets determined by the conflict. A real life incident might illustrate this point. In North Kashmir recently, a group of small children had blocked the road in view of a strike call. When the passing Army vehicles drove past and after they stopped, an Army man told one of the children, ‘Son, your age is not to sit here but to study. However, the child cheekily responded by asking a question: ‘When are you leaving Kashmir?’
Conflict then becomes an overarching condition that determines the world of our children. It is important that a review of the conflict is undertaken and the conflict resolved. The alternative is too bleak to countenance: if sufficient care is not taken for the proper guidance and development of the children, the day is not far, when a tsunami will engulf us all. As the flowers in a garden grow and develop according to the climate and environment, in the same way, children reflect the circumstances and happenings surrounding them.
The author is a post graduate student of Islamic Studies at the University of Kashmir, and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org