Imagine losing your only brother to a shooting incident, and then having your parents fear for your safety so much that you are not allowed to leave your home. This is what is happening in Iraq to children and their families. Children are being raised in a climate of fear and violence, and in my opinion, this upbringing will fuel further hatred of the United States. According to an article in IRIN,
“Children have become prisoners of their own families,” Dr Fua’ad Azize, a psychologist in Baghdad, said, but he warned that keeping them locked up inside could seriously affect their development. “Children need to move, read, learn and play but today in Iraq such normal things might lead to death or injury,” he said. “Some children and youths are being manipulated and brainwashed into helping militias and insurgents – sometimes with the blessing of their families.”
Abdallah’s mother is sure that keeping her child at home is the best way to save his life but she knows he is not happy: “I will protect my child with all my strength. I know he isn’t happy being kept in all the time but I know it is for his protection,” Um Faisal said.
“I try to do my best to make him feel comfortable at home. I buy him chocolates, biscuits and ice-cream, and even if he gets mental problems, that’s better than a bullet in the head.”
Mohammed Abdul-Aziz, a statistician at the Ministry of Education, told IRIN that at least 125 children had been killed and 107 injured since 2005 in attacks on schools. These numbers do not include children killed or injured on their way to or from school.
In this country, we may fear lead in our children’s toys or BPA in baby bottles, but the constant fear Iraqi parents must feel is incomprehensible. This conflict must end. I don’t have the answers, but surely war is not one of them.