‘Childhood in War’ by Iris Fisher, Canada

To the politicians and leaders responsible for the ongoing war in Israel/Gaza:

Did you have a good childhood?

Have you not become the person you are today due to your upbringing; how you were raised, nurtured, supported, cared for and loved?

Think as far back as you can.  Think of the laughs, the cuddles, the soothing from the pains, fears and worries.  Think about the family gatherings, the warmth and coziness of your home, the feeling of safety, tranquility, or maybe chaos because you and your siblings were playing, shouting and singing all at once.

Perhaps your childhood was not as great.  Did you not wish for all of those things mentioned above?

tumblr_inline_nanvpmlixl1sag8l3The environment and circumstances of your childhood shaped who you are today.

And so now, what environment are you putting the children of your people through?  How will their adulthoods and futures be drawn and shaped as a reflection of current conditions?

A child should never have to lose their innocence because they live in war.  The awful sound of sirens blaring everywhere is a sound that will hunt them forever.  To no longer be allowed to play outside or sit at the desk at school, or have dinner with the family because everyone needs to run at once for shelter, is not something children should have to go through.

A child should never have to witness war or to experience it physically.  To see destruction everywhere in their surroundings, to witness blood, suffering and even gruesome deaths is psychologically scarring.  This is an evil and cruel punishment no child deserves.  This is beyond wrong.  This is barbaric and inhumane.

Needless to say those are the memories these children will take from this; these are the images that are now associated with their childhoods.  These are very deep scars that are inflicted on these children.  This is a main ingredient that will shape them as individuals.  Fear and anger will forever be with them.  Their faith in humanity will probably never be fully restored.  Is this the kinds of adults we want our children to become?

Stop fighting your grandfathers’ battles and become instead the architects of a fruitful, prosperous future for your children.

Let’s not create soldiers of vengeance but instead, teachers, healers, innovators and builders.  Let’s not continue the cycle of hatred but instead, allow children their innocence, safety, education and love.

To every single politician, military leader, diplomat or strategist involved in the decision-making of this war, please consider the children.  Not only are they the innocent victims, their parents are as well.  The people have not chosen this war.  But you instead, the leaders, are the ones at the “control panels”.

This is not about your personal dignity but your skills as a leader.  Be firm and strategic, but diplomatic and humble.  Think of the safety of your people and their future, and strive for peace.

Yes, the conflict has deep roots, but if the focus continues to be on historical aspects we will never move forward.  As for the peoples on either side of the conflict, not only could they eventually learn to live side by side, but outside of this specific region of war, Arabs and Jews DO live together and peacefully.

Dear political and military leader, diplomat and strategist:

Think of the “lottery” of your birth and life and its consequences on your family and your upbringings; think of what you were fortunate to have, or lacked and wished you had.  These are the things you can now provide to your people.  As a leader, you have the power to bring forth change and make it a better place.

Please stop the madness and strive for calmness, togetherness, and peace.

Iris,

YaLa Young Leaders

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