Children of Palestine Must be Saved from Israeli Bombardment.  We must raise Our Voice for them

Santa Gaza

“It is not enough to mourn the dead children. What we must do is
oppose and immobilize the power that put them to death.”

 James Baldwin

War affects children the most. Children and women have suffered and suffer the most during wars, wars waged by elders and men. Wars are waged on one pretext or the other. Wars waged to bring ‘peace’. Wars waged to grab the resources and land of others.

Israel’s bombardment on Gaza in the wake of the Hamas attack has made it clear that it’s the children who have suffered the most in this conflict. More than 9000 children have been killed in Israeli bombardment and still counting. Schools, libraries and hospitals have been raised to the ground and turned into a heap of rubble. There is no shelter left for the people of Gaza. No land to bury the dead. Mass graves have sprung everywhere, where dozens even hundreds of people, children, young and old have been buried.  Children are seen crying over the dead bodies of their fathers, mothers and brothers. Dreams and futures have been destroyed. Smiles have been snatched from the innocent and beautiful faces of Palestinian children. This is painful beyond imagination.

The death and destruction which is going on in Palestine right now has brought out the dark side of the war and armed conflicts. To kill children on this scale reminds us of the holocaust and genocide which was perpetuated against the Jews of Europe in World War-II by Hitler’s Nazi forces. But right now this is happening in the 21st century, caught on camera and shared worldwide within seconds.  This doesn’t bode well for the future of this world, the future of the poor countries who have no or not much means, weapons to defend themselves. This should worry us all. We are living in an arms race where every country is in a hurry to take over another country in terms of weapons acquired. The bombardment of Gaza and massacre of people including children on this scale has emboldened other such imperial, occupying powers that anyone can get away with this murder and killing spree, killing of poor, unarmed people. That an occupying power has the licence whatever it wants to do with the occupied, the oppressed. It also demostrated might is right. This should terrify us all. Unpredictability and uncertainty have engulfed us all.

 To kill children on this scale amounts to genocide. While thousands of children have been killed by the ongoing bombardment of Palestine, thousands of children have been rendered orphans too, and thousands of women have been rendered widows. Mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers and  are crying, screaming while searching for their children, their sisters and brothers, relatives, searching for the dead bodies of their loved ones.  This is horrific to say the least.

Every other second, every other minute, news flashes on our screens, flashes of  screaming people, children crying, running for their lives. This terrify us and leave us speechless. The siege of Gaza has led to a severe shortage of food and fuel.  People are dying of starvation. A child dies every six minutes in Gaza. This is catastrophic.

The laws, rules, conferences, and seminars of war and peace have become meaningless in the eyes of people who suffer occupation and oppression. Geneva Conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights doesn’t hold meaning when Israel is massacring children every day and leaving others maimed and traumatized. These conventions hold no meaning for the families who are caught in this war whose family members have been killed and whose families are devastated.

The world community has to wake from the slumbers and take a stand against this catastrophe which has befallen Palestine. The world community has to stop the killing of children. The UN must intervene to stop this massacre of innocents. If we can’t give smiles to the children, to the Palestinian children, we should at least stop others from snatching the smiles from the faces of Palestinian children. This is our moral responsibility. We must raise our voice for the Palestinian children. We must stand for the children of Ukraine, for children of Afghanistan and for other children who are caught in wars and armed conflicts.

As Gaza gasps for breath, as children of Gaza cry for help, we must tell the truth to the power. We must raise our voices to stop this bloodshed, this large scale massacre of children.  We must raise our voice for a lasting ceasefire, for an end to this siege, for an end to the war. We must pray for peace.

Ashraf Lone, Jawahrlal Nehru University, New Delhi

(Ashraf Lone’s memoir, based on the turbulent period of 1990s of Kashmir will be released in 2024 by OM Books International, New Delhi)

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