When a gunman entered the school and shot dead 26 people in Newtown, Connecticut, the breaking news was a heart-breaking news. We were all saddened by the story, parents of six year old children hugged them tighter, and people asked one question over and over again, “Why?” Why would anyone want to hurt six year old children? Innocent children who didn’t understand evil until the day they experienced it firsthand that day? To find six-year-olds with multiple shot wounds was so devastating, that the Medical Examiner commented, “I’ve been at this for a third of a century … but this probably is the worst I have seen or the worst that I know of any of my colleagues having seen,” he said.
But in Syria every news is heart-breaking news. Yesterday, dozens of people have been killed and many more wounded in a Syrian government air strike that hit a bakery where a crowd was queuing for bread. Many of the victims were women and children. Just because there aren’t reporters lurking all over Syria, taking interviews about the children’s favorite color, hobbies, or cartoon characters doesn’t make them any less important. Their mothers suffered the back aches associated with carrying them around for nine months. Some of them watched their children say the first words, and curl their tiny fingers around an adult hand, and smile for no particular reason. And some of them watched their children die from gun wounds and disappear under the rubble of collapsed buildings, forever gone.
And it’s not just Syria.
19 November 2012: one of the top stories from Gaza was , “Four children killed in single Israeli air strike.”
17 December 2012: 10 Afghan children killed in bomb explosion in eastern province.
And that’s just the stuff that happened in the last one and a half month.
But the thing is , in in Syria, Palestine, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, th0se children are grouped into numbers to reduce airwaves and sound bytes, and any resulting shockwaves that could reverberate across the world. We don’t get to hear their names, and their favorite holiday events, whether they liked to color with crayons or preferred paint. Some of them lose their parents and siblings in the same attacks, and so their names would just remain on the birth and death certificates, if those even existed.
So Syrian children are children too. They are not collateral damage. Palestinian children are children too. They are not future terrorists. In other words, Muslim children are children too. They are not a threat to anybody, especially when they’re carrying their pacifiers. So let’s not forget them.