Children and Peace

Dr. Qais Ahmed Al-Mohammadi

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        Peace in any society depends on the attitudes, values ​​and capabilities of the members of that society, and these values ​​and capabilities are acquired in them since childhood; Therefore, our children are the main entrance to achieving our common goal of having a stable and developmental society that possesses values, capabilities and cultures that promote peace and development unless we face the opposite.

  According to a report by (Save the Children) , Yemen is currently among the ten worst-affected countries for children and the most affected by armed conflict. International humanitarian law provides general protection for all those affected by armed conflict, and includes strict provisions relating to children. 

 

Our children in our Yemeni reality are exposed to a number of dangers and threats, and the more and more areas subject to internal conflicts expand and increase, the number of armed men increases. At the same time, the exposure of children in those areas to missiles, wrong bullets and hidden mines increases, which may cause them death, or the loss of part of their bodies, so the number of disabled and homeless increases. 

 

Children may lose the head of the family or a number of family members, which exposes them to family disintegration, malnutrition and starvation, and then they are forced to do cruel work or beg, while those who are spared from the foregoing are exposed to an identity crisis, not knowing who they belong to. 

 

Nor why are they subjected to these pains, and are haunted by fear of the present and the future just by hearing the sounds of explosions and news of killing, violence, displacement and kidnapping or witnessing those  atrocities, and this will certainly have a long-term impact on them. 

       It is painful and unfortunate that the loss of inner peace for thousands of our children has become a regular occurrence, whether in urban or rural Yemen;  As we find that many children do not go to school, while a number of them have professionalized beggary, while we find that some persevering and self-made may work in difficult jobs for long periods of time, and some of them try to sell some tools and simple parts on the roads and tours, and some of them move between neighborhoods and villages to collect what can be used of remnants and waste, and what is worse than that is the extent to which some of them are directly involved in the current conflict.

       From the behavioral and psychological aspect, the need of our children for inner peace through passion, love and security is greater than anything else, and in times of conflict, children are the most vulnerable due to their small physical and mental structure and weakness.  If the conflict has struggled on us strongly   in age of majority and we have the power of endurance until most of us become publicly echoing or silently, "No future here", How about the children?!          

      It is first, then, to imagine the severity of the impact of the current conflict on our children. When they repeatedly witness manifestations of violence and feel its consequences, they will certainly lose hope in a safe present;  And when the period of their upbringing coincides with long years of conflict, how will this affect their personalities and what will they offer to their families and society?!  And when children's toy exhibitions in most of their shelves contain toys that are originally" Models “; It symbolizes violence and wars, and when children play violent and programmed electronic games with all kinds of lethal weapons instead of playing games aimed at building and development, they will inevitably think that weapons will protect them instead of the country through its legal institutions, security and others, and they may hate love and smile.              

      Many adults may lose sense of the depth of suffering and pain of children affected by the current conflict by varying degrees, perhaps because these people have enjoyed peace since their childhood, or perhaps their childhood lives were not as harsh as those of today’s children, and were not as long-lasting compared to the current conflict since  six years.  Although the cause of all the conflicts now taking place is “we are the adults,"  yet we have not wondered why we adults are still involved in one way or another in destroying the future of our children;  We are the decision makers in the continuation of conflicts and in stopping them?  And if we decide - collectively - to really stop it, who will bear its disastrous consequences in the foreseeable future?!  Have we thought about what we have provided and prepared for the near future of children?!  How would the appropriate description of our adult children be our current generation?!                

         And if we remember our innocent dreams in the time of our early childhood and our ambitions when we were young, most of which are in the unbridled desire to change the future of future generations to better, and to make them positive, and to spread justice and build the country to keep pace with the times and similar to the ancient countries, if we do that, we discover that what we have presented  in fact quite the opposite;  We have failed them and did not give them the peace and life they deserve even though we are wholly responsible for what has happened and is happening in the present, and we will hand them a destroyed infrastructure, and we will bequeath them wounds and feelings of pain, grudges, and deep hatred, and perhaps also the desire for revenge if they survive.  And we have to wonder where we will be responsible in the future?  Do we expect to be affected by the perpetuation of conflicts as a culture rooted in our society?  This will inevitably happen unless we relinquish conflicts and seek to achieve lasting peace in order to prepare our homeland for construction and sustainable development.    

       In the face of all these challenges and frustrations, there are always opportunities and alternatives that are full of hope, and no matter how small they may seem, the impact is great.  Once there is a real desire and pure intentions that we are obligated in front of our children to give them the right to feel safe, peaceful and hope by realizing the dreams of young people and achieving the ambitious aspirations of young people as a right not less than the right to live in dignity, receive education and obtain physical and mental health.  One of the opportunities and possible solutions is to highlight the vital role of peace in our society in general, and in areas of conflict in particular. 

 

The society and its institutions are supposed to play this role, as individuals, by positively influencing the parties to the conflict through various activities and events. There are individual experiences that have succeeded in positively influencing even those bearing arms in some conflict areas around the world, especially those that have lived through decades of conflicts; They were sensitized and trained to protect children in times of conflict, and to encourage them to fulfill the conventions and covenants related to children's rights, and to protect them from violence, exploitation and abuse.  As for the role of parents, teachers, staff, professionals and media professionals who do not have any decision to stop violence, their common goal is to achieve lasting peace and return to building through many measures, it began by converging views and setting goals.            

        Our behaviors and manners  must be common and similar in relation to our children, and we can also move towards just advocating for the basic rights of our children even before military personnel involved in the conflict, as well as by promoting a culture of peace and human development among our children, and at the same time we must curb the negative promotion of violent films and games;  And to give them hope that conflicts will stop and end at some time, while instilling patience, endurance and steadfastness in them, training them to resolve conflicts they face in peaceful ways, instilling in them the ambition of positive change, and helping them shift their interests towards development matters, as well as encouraging our children - males and females - to take charge of  take the initiative to become a generation that is stronger and more resilient and able to live with our intellectual differences as long as they are peaceful, the requirement not to follow our methodologies that support conflicts by dozens of upcoming years.      

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