MEDIA WATCH Wars taking a big toll on children
WAR is brutal and has no friends. Everyone is af fected by the vagaries of conflicts — adults and children alike. Pictures of children who have been ravaged by wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, countries of Africa and just about in every corner of the world have brought tears to the eyes of readers. Children are the unwitting casualties of war, becoming a part of it through no fault of their own.
Children are dependent on the care of elders and this is disrupted in times of disturbances due to the loss of parents who go to fight on the frontlines. Some children lose all adult protection and become ‘unaccompanied’ minors like those left destitute at the ‘Jungle’ refugee camp that was razed in Calais. Moreover, a childhood that should have been spent playing and learning with friends, is turned into one where children move from camp to camp, or seek refuge in a new country. Add to that the risk of being abused, disabled or simply marginalised by society. The psychological impact of war can be devastating on the young minds. Children are exposed to terror and horror during war, leaving a lasting impact. In some places, children are enlisted to serve in militias. It is estimated that there are tens of thousands of young people under 18 years serving as child soldiers in about 60 countries. Where does this leave us? Efforts must be made to make war less damaging to children. Food, clothing, shelter and basic protection must be ensured to the vulnerable. Humanitarian assistance must be granted to children caught up in conflict zones. But most of all, there must be an allround awareness of the consequences of war, especially on young lives. — Gulf News