Dismal, dark realities hover around Palestinian children

Shots and videos of Palestinian children dying are just too shocking. Though most of the so called world leaders are fathers and grandfathers, they seem little bothered about the ongoing mayhem in Gaza

Focus on the young on Children’s Day, 14 November.  But the political rulers will not talk of the dismal dark realities hovering around the lives of our precious children.

This year, the tragedies are only compounding as news reports on Gaza are carrying very, very depressing details. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that as the raging Israel-Hamas conflict has completed a month since it erupted on October 7, more than 10,000 people, or some 0.5 per cent of the total population in the besieged enclave, have reportedly been killed, with an average of 160 children dying per day.

And the evacuated  nurse from  Gaza, Emily Callahan, who works as  nursing activity  manager for  ‘Doctors without  borders’,  has been quoted as saying that there are burnt and amputated children in Gaza  because of the constant  bombardments  by the  Israeli forces. She’s also focused on the fact that there’s no food and water for hundreds of the Palestinian families and their children …many could be dying of hunger and starvation.

Yes, those shots and videos of Palestinian children dying are just too shocking. Too painful. Though most of the so-called world leaders (some could be called war-criminals… accused of war crimes!) are fathers and grandfathers but seem little bothered about the ongoing killings and deaths in Gaza. Those cries of the injured and dying children are so very traumatic and painful….I have been questioning myself:  Is this the so-called developed world? Is this the world that talks of peace whilst indulging in mass scale genocide? Is this world fit enough for humans to survive in, where even infants and new born children are not  spared?


And if one were to focus on the dark realities faced by children in our country, there are significant pointers to the fact that a substantial percentage of children  in the country are subjected to abuse and mental trauma. Our children are also deprived of the basic food nutrients…severely malnourished are lakhs of our children. And though there are hundreds of  sarkari advertisements which  boast of  providing  clean  drinking water but in many  locales only muddy drops  trickle  …parched  are the stretches  and  there’s  no accountability. If the local population cries out for food and drinkable water, they are given the Hindu-Muslim lollypop! Yes, communal tensions are created by the political mafia to distract and divert attention from the basic issues.

And if one was under the impression that child marriages are a thing of the past then do try read the latest data that reveals that child marriages are still taking place. No research or  follow up on the future of those couples; many  perhaps  manipulated or  bundled off or  lured  into the  marriage  trap, as  poverty and  illiteracy holds sway.

And in many regions, there’s an increase in the numbers of the children going through various forms of disadvantages and burdens. Child trafficking is a known  reality yet where’s the halt to children getting bought and sold in the various markets!

Sheer poverty and the hopelessly failing system is killing hundreds of our children in their very childhood. What happens to the survival of thousands of such families and children who cannot afford to get the basic food and medical care? Who is responsible for their famished-hopeless-anaemic existence? Who is answerable? Who is accountable? The political and administrative who’s who ought be questioned for the sheer plight, misery and sorrow of our children.  

And as I have consistently focussed on the dismal fact that children surviving in the conflict zones, face an additional load of trauma and anxieties together with insecurities. Ask the children of Manipur and Kashmir and of the so many  other regions where conflict and civil strife  holds sway!

Also, children from the minority communities and groups face the burden of the communal virus so very systematically unleashed all around them. One case after another. The blatantly horrific one was that of that school teacher in Uttar  Pradesh, Tripti Tyagi, provoking and ordering  in the same breath the children of her class to slap one of the Muslim students of the class.

Not sure what is the condition of children inside jails – those who sit with their  imprisoned mothers and 

also those in juvenile homes. There’s little  information trickling out from across the high walls.


Ending this week’s column with this  verse of  the Palestinian  poet –   Mahmoud Darwish :   ‘I COME FROM THERE

I come from there and I have memories
Born as mortals are, I have a mother
And a house with many windows,
I have brothers, friends,
And a prison cell with a cold window.
Mine is the wave, snatched by sea-gulls,
I have my own view,
And an extra blade of grass.
Mine is the moon at the far edge of the words,
And the bounty of birds,
And the immortal olive tree.
I walked this land before the swords
Turned its living body into a laden table.

I come from there. I render the sky unto her mother
When the sky weeps for her mother.
And I weep to make myself known
To a returning cloud.
I learnt all the words worthy of the court of blood
So that I could break the rule.
I learnt all the words and broke them up
To make a single word: Homeland…