What Of The Children?
I recently did an analysis of the Middle East situation and in that piece I wrote that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians had become an institution; a tradition, if you will. And for that reason it was going to be difficult to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. Since the conflict has been continuously for the last 50+ years, the solution was going to have to be that of the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Now I would like to cover the same type of situation but in this I will be more concerned with that of the rearing of children. First, keep in mind that about two generations have lived with the conflict. Two generations have either grown up with refugee camp experiences or lived through wars and destruction in the Occupied Territories. Children playing have witnessed such things as homes destruction, airstrikes, dead bodies, blood and the smell of gunsmoke. These are powerful things for children to endure and it not to effect them.
On the other side of the conflict, Israeli children have witnessed suicide bombers and heard rockets results in the distance, not quite as emotionally powerful as what the Palestinian children endure. I mean the carcass of a rocket that hit in a field out of the village, is not quite as effective as a child watching as a piece of machinery destroys your home or the body of your older brother lying broken in the streets of your town.
After two generations have grown up with such vivid pictures burned into their minds, what would be their reaction be when they became old enough participate? Of course, they would want to do something that could improve their situation and that of all their people.
The Palestinian people have had no effective government in the past, so their thinking is if they did not do something, nothing would get done. Israel on the other hand, has had a government and the people have put their faith in the actions of that government. Of course, the world has , for two generations, looked the other way when it comes to the plight of the Palestinian people.
So with this said, the children have continue all the conflict as they have grown up. Their impressionable years were filled with death and destruction and as they grew older the death and destruction continues, so that when their children, who are witnessing the same circumstances, grow they continue the death and destruction, so when their children…………and the cycles continues.
The only way to achieve peace in the region, is to find a way to break the cycle of death and destruction. That is assuming that all players want the cycle to be broken. The only way to break a tradition or custom, is by starting with the children. Let them know there is a peaceful way to live; show them there is a peaceful way to live.
Now, the question is, do the players in this drama really want peace? If they truly do, then it is time to prove, remove the violence and allow children to play children’s games and not be witness to the obscenities of war.