-Krishna P Unny, I Year B.A. History and Tourism
Image Source: Google
“The childhood shows the man, as morning shows the day,” wrote John Milton in his work ‘Paradise Regained’. But what happens when this childhood, the age which is supposed to be the cornucopia of the most treasured moments of a person’s life becomes the age of terror, from which recovery becomes impossible? Children are left with shreds of dread and hopelessness, dregs of disturbing memories and broken hearts, bitter feelings, an unfading fear for the entire race of heartless human beings and a vacuum in those tiny hearts that time will never be able to fill. Today, Khaled Hosseini’s words about the condition of children in Afghanistan holds true for the condition of children across the world – “We have a lot of children. But little childhood.”
2 September 2015, Turkey. Alan Kurdi’s pictures made rounds on the internet. No, he was not the son of any famous actor or a prince. He was just another unlucky Syrian refugee kid whose dead body was found lying on a beach.
17 August 2016, Syria. The footage of a 5 year old Omran Daqneesh was telecasted by the BBC and other international news channels. Again, the story is not a very happy one. The footage showed a terribly wounded and bleeding Daqneesh sitting aghast with lifeless eyes, his body covered in dust and debris left by the war.
8 September 2017, India. The news of the murder of a seven year old Pradyuman Thakur made our hearts bleed. As the case later unfolded, it was a 16 year old student from his own school, Ryan International, who had brutally slit the seven year old’s throat; the reason being simple- he wanted a school holiday so that he would get time to prepare for his exams.
14 February 2018, Florida. On this day, just 7 weeks post the commencement of the new year, USA witnessed its eighth case of school shootouts of the year. While the world was busy celebrating Valentine’s Day, 17 kids were killed and several others left injured at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
These are just a handful of cases out of the list of innumerable instances in which innocent children are besieged, bombed, sniped, massacred, raped, tortured, gassed and starved to death. Even if they don’t die, deep within, a part of them dies, their childhood dies. Even if they survive, that is all that they do – survive, not live. Innocent kids, who know no boundaries or barriers, who are oblivious of religion, race, caste, creed and terrorism become the scapegoats for human animosity.
Of all the kids who trip down the abyss of violence, those who survive, never completely recover from the fall. As it is rightly said, you cannot always bury the past. It will claw itself out someday. In such cases, they mature unnaturally fast but grow up to be individuals with unstable minds and empty hearts incapable of doing anything. It is in such cases that the highly over-used expression that children are the architects of tomorrow, become obsolete. Hopefully, these gruesome cases of violence against children, this brutal attack on innocence will get as much attention as the cuteness of baby Taimur and the misadventures of Jr. Trudeau.