Thursday, January 8, 2015

2014: A Great Year?

I’m glad for my Facebook friends whose year-end pictorial synopses keep coming with the happy affirmation that “It’s been a great year!” I’m sure it has been for most of us, at least at the personal/family level; and that is something to rejoice and be thankful for.

Yet, I wish I could say the same. 2014 has been an awful year. Yes, one of the worst years in memory. And, I’m talking about the suffering of children, here. I hardly remember a time when so many children had been so callously victimized in so many places. Just think back to the images of suffering children that kept coming to our screens throughout the year.

Think of South Sudan where more than 600 children have been killed and over 200 maimed; Central African republic, where 10,000 children were recruited by armed groups and 430 killed; Syria, where, at least 35 attacks on schools have been carried out, killing and injuring hundreds of children, (the suffering of children in Syria, according to UNICEF, has more than doubled compared to 2013); Yazidi and other minority children in Iraq; Gaza’s defenseless kids; Nigeria’s school girls; and Pakistan’s innocent victims of unhinged extremism, just to mention a few.

And this is on top of the tens of millions of children who have become refugees or internally displaced and those who have died of, or are suffering from, diseases and malnutrition, or have, otherwise, fallen victim to the many other effects of war and conflict.

2014’s iconic image is unfortunately not one that evokes happy memories, but that of a dust covered toddler being dug out of rubble (Syria).

Closer to home, Eritrean families continue to be traumatized by the news of their young children dying in deserts and high seas, all that to be topped by the recent cold-blooded execution by the Eritrean regime of 13 kids on the Eritrean-Sudanese border.

I just hope for a world that spares children the deadly consequences of adult follies. And may 2015 see the beginning of a saner future. Happy Holidays to All.



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