Innocents killed are brushed aside as colaterals: A cruelty of worst order
The term ‘terrorism’ refers to a violent action, committed for political reasons in order to spread panics and terror. Terrorism therefore is a form of unconventional warfare that seeks to affect masses. The most relevant issue for nowadays is international terrorism, associated 9/11 and after meth. Terrorism cannot be justified in any case, since it involves killing or injuring the innocent law-abiding citizen this made a worst affect on physical and psychological affect on children in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now in Pakistan.
During the last decade, tow million children worldwide have been killed as a result of war, four to five million children have been disabled, 12 million have been left homeless, more than one million orphaned or separated from their parents, and approximately ten million children have been psychologically traumatised as a result of war (UNICEF’s The State of World’s Children 1996).
The most affected countries regarding the killings of children due to war or its consequences are Afghanistan and Iraq. The so called collateral damage has proved far more lethal than the war casualties. Even the deaths caused by terrorism have been outnumbered through the collaterals.
In both these countries thousands of children were killed during the war. In Afghanistan only, where al war has been continuing for the past 30 years, around 400,000 to 600,000 children have died out of total population of 20 million. Iraq lost over half a million women and children as a consequence of sanctions imposed on it after Operation Desert Storm; Madeline Albright, the then Secretary of State called it “a price worth it.”
In addition, the devastation has contributed to the deaths of thousands of children from hunger and disease. More than 250,000 children are reported dying every year of malnutrition alone in Afghanistan.
Every three hours or so, a child is blown up as a result of more than ten million landmines planted all over Afghanistan.
One-third of Afghanistan’s landmine victims are estimated to be children (UNOCHA 1999).
Those children who survive a trauma of a mine incident are burden on their families and require extensive medical care, rehabilitation and most importantly, economic support throughout their lives.
More than one quarter of Afghan babies do not see their fifth birthday (UNESCO, 1997).
According to UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children Report, Afghanistan has the fourth worst record in under five child mortality, the infant mortality rate being 152 per 1,000 live births.
If we look at Iraq we have more or less same conditions for children. According to the UNISAFE statistics 2007, Tens of thousands of children have lost parents and other family members due to violence. Some 600,000 children are among the 1.2 million.
World Vision International have released a report entitled ‘Trapped! The disappearing Hopes of Iraqi Refugee Children’ revealing the terrible psychological scars Iraqi children are suffering from witnessing acts of violence and death first-hand.
It has illustrated 43 percent of children have witnessed acts of violence and 39 percent have had someone close die due to violence. It highlights that educational and healthcare are key to helping these children cope with the trauma. Beside this they were nutritiously maltreated and deliberately left to die with hunger.
Sergeant Michael Beale told CNN News:
"I saw children that you could see literally every bone in their body that were so skinny, they had no energy to move, no expression."
The store room however was full of food and clothing for the children.
Conditions for displaced children and the communities hosting them are worsening. The increasing numbers of displaced families are creating an overwhelming demand for basic services. Most displaced families are living in communities that are already poor and often also badly affected by violence and insecurity.
Children’s education is also being compromised. Many schools suffer from overcrowding and are now forced to hold multiple shifts. Displaced children are less likely to stay or complete the school year.
Most children have experienced stress at various levels, with fear and anxiety becoming a major concern
War have several other worse effects on children including loss of parents and other close relatives, many left their education because of poverty, displacements, disabilities, destroyed infrastructure of education etc. Many of the street children have no shelter and are dependent on relatives for a place to stay or they shake up in abandoned houses.
These children are either involved in begging or working on the streets as shoe polishers, or car washers; the purpose being to support their families. The situation of education is also worse, many schools have been destroyed or lost teachers due to the war.
Those schools extending educational facilities to refugee children are without basic necessities, which are leading to a poor quality of education. These schools are housed in very dilapidated buildings.
Now similar situation is occurring in Northern parts of Pakistan, though not worse at yet as in those countries are, but the matter of fact is not different.
What should we imagine about these children, what they will do in the future? How will they contribute their part to establish the society. What role will they be playing towards the economy? It is obvious, not positive. Therefore, they will be the weakest manpower with no resources, they will not be able to construct these countries again to survive on global. Neighbouring countries will have to face two kind of problems, one social due to the refugees and displaced people and second economical. So they will try to overcome these issues rather than develop their countries. Americans will face a different kind of problem, due to invading other countries in the name of so called democracy and peace. Due to which these victimized children will grow up with pure loathing for America. Secondly they will be an internally frustrated generation due to the disrespect and insecurity for them in this world. Therefore working on both platform at the same time, can cause unrest within America which will be fatal to their economy.
If America really wants to bring back peace and development in the world they should play a vital role to restore the dignity and sovereignty of the war affected countries. Should stop killing people immediately, help restore normalcy in the war affected countries and focus on the socio-economic rehabilitation of the war torn societies. This way up coming generations will be with America else it would find enemies all around in every individual.
Ghazala Awan is Advocate by profession specialising in civil and family law.