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Leena G Khan, London, dedicated to the Children of Gaza
Have you had a gun pointed at you? I came across this picture. A picture I cant seem to forget. The image I cant seem to get out of my head. The more I think about the picture. The more this question strengthens its roots in my head: What would it feel like to have a gun pointed not inches away from my face?
As I look at this picture of a 3 year old standing face to face with a Israeli soldier pointing his gun at him. The more I realize, the look on the child's face is not of fright or terror. It is a look that is far from that, there is this eerie calmness in his delicate features. He stands there alone, yet he does not seem shocked or scared. It almost as though he was expecting it. And probably in his very short life this is normal. This is what he was born into. For him this is life. His life and thousands of other such children's life. Children, who go home and perhaps, tell their parents not what they learnt at school, but how they managed to escape the scary gunman again. But then again, how many more times will they escape the scary gunman standing outside their house? Waiting.
As kids we only heard stories of a boogie man coming after us. " shhh.. now or the boogie man will come and take you away" our parents whispered, as we promised them we would behave our selves and share our toys. Sadly, for these children no-matter how nicely they behave them selves. They are surrounded by hundreds of boogie men. And no one can save them. The boogie man will eventually take them away. One by one.
We rate our films so our children are not exposed to violence. How can we let their innocent minds be corrupted like this, we say in horror and dismay. What about these children? Who is looking out for them? There is no one to protect them, assure them that everything will be all right. That its just make believe and real life is nothing like that. Is it really not - for them?
Children who grow up with so much destruction and violence can not be held responsible for growing up to be angry and ready to fight. Full of vengeance. Full of hatred.
I am against terrorism. I am against violence of all sorts. But if your whole life all you have ever witnessed is bloodshed and mass destruction. Is it possible to look away? When you grow up without a father, a mother, your siblings or you send your children to school and they never come back. Is it possible not to want revenge? Is it possible to be rational? Be normal?
What is normal? These children are not living under normal circumstances. They were not born into normal circumstances either. Nor were their parents. So how can we even expect they will turn out like you and me? When these children grow up to be suicide bombers, who is to blame? Them for not knowing right from wrong? But what right what wrong. This is all they know.
The Palestinians are only fighting for their life, their survival and their future. What are the Israeli's fighting for? 'Their' so- called 'holy land'? Land? How can they even call it a 'holy land' when it's drenched in blood.
A land, not theirs to begin with.
I am crying for that little girl who never got to wear the sunglasses her father bought for her. She cannot eat because her food smells of gas, as do her clothes and her house. I am crying for all the children who have already lost their childhood and have no choice but to be angry and hateful.
I am crying for the Children of Palestine - The children without a future.
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