Children’s Day in India seems fraudulent at this juncture to celebrate, as thousands of them are being reportedly murdered and maimed in the ongoing Gaza conflict. The appeal for a cease-fire is not gaining enough momentum, in spite of celebrities who are seen protesting and have pledged to donate to the Palestinian children’s relief. Also, there are thousands of citizens holding marches across the world to stop this genocide, that history will remember for a long time ahead. Yet the killings continue unabated.
Our screens and eyes are bleeding as we helplessly watch the infants and young people, covered in white cloth, as the tiny dead bodies are kept in a row. As the war intensifies, this is a holocaust revisited. Israel may think that Hamas is being taught a lifelong lesson for their first attack on unarmed Israeli civilians in a music fest, but we all know that revenge isn’t an easy pill to digest.
The ugliness of this situation will rear its head as the Palestinian children may never forget the attacks and the atrocities. The fear is that, maybe the outcome of this would be a greater uncontrollable monster that may emerge in the coming years, as Palestinian families will not be able to come to terms with the personal trauma of losing their families and homes in the war.
How will this war ever be justified to children?
With the media attention on the guiltless horrific attacks on Gaza, we haven’t spoken about Sudan and the 60 infants, toddlers and older children who died in May 2023, over weeks, as they were trapped in extremely harrowing conditions in an orphanage in Sudan’s capital, as fighting raged outside. The deaths were from lack of food and fever.
The shivering innocent children with rubble and dust on their frightened faces are part of our everyday social media feed, as we can see the kids who have lost their parents and siblings in the bombing, with no fault of their own. How will this war ever be justified to them?
How fair is this, is the question that every conscientious individual must be asking themselves today
How dystopian is this, that a country seeks revenge by continually bombing schools that are serving as shelters and hospitals for children and women?
Reportedly in Gaza about 3900 child victims, another 1250 went missing and many are presumed buried in bombed buildings. Fathers were seen desperately calling out to the children among the rubble for an answer from the debris.
In war-torn Gaza with little rescue machinery, hospitals that are overcrowded and running out of supplies, the chances of survival for those trapped in rubble are sadly very low.
After the death of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964, a resolution was passed in the Indian Parliament, that declared November 14 as Children's Day to honour the legacy of Panditji. But today, the legacy seems to lack lustre as we know that across the world, children are being mindlessly slaughtered, targeted and killed.
This 14th November 2023 we are all in mourning with the mothers across the world who have lost their children in political and religious violence. We hold this sacred space of motherhood, for the devastation that has been caused to their families.
We can’t forget the mothers who have lost their speech with the deceased bodies of their children in cribs, as their lactating breasts are emptying in revolt from within, with this great human tragedy.
Views expressed are the author's own.
Mohua Chinappa is an author and runs a podcaster called The Mohua Show.
Suggested reading: Then Versus Now: How Has Childhood Changed For Kids