Children in Syria do not hear fairytales about talking rabbits and ponies before bedtime. These days they only hear the stories of death and torture.Children in Syria cannot scream for their parents at night to come and banish the monsters under their beds and in their closets, because their parents probably will not be around. No one can come and protect these children from the monsters coming after them. Instead of spending their summer in scout camps, children in Syria spent the summer in prison or in refugee camp. No fairytales are told anymore here in this land, no magic unicorns can carry these children away from the horror they face. In Syria playgrounds have turned into graveyards. "How can I stay strong for the people when I see all the atrocities around me? My feet cannot hold my weight when I bury these children everyday." The voice of Hadi Al Abdulla filled the air, followed with heavy silence during which one can almost hear the screams of the children of Syria, echoing across the world. Hadi is an activist living in one of the most troubled areas in Syria, the city of Homs. Hadi said that most children in Homs are now orphans, severely injured, or have been killed. He described an entire family stabbed to death, including five children; one with special needs, and one, a toddler, found holding onto his mother's hair. Hadi talked about a toddler girl, called Afaf, who was detained with her parents, and later found, dead in the street near the house of her relatives, her helpless, fragile body covered with bruises and marks of electric shocks. UNICEF has announced that at least 384 children have been killed in Syria and at least 380 have been detained, some of whom are less than 14 years old. Human Rights Watch issued a report entitled: Syria: Stop Torture of Children, saying that it documented the torture, in prisons, of at least 12 children. HRW has gathered testimonies from the children of Syrian refugees that security forces raided their schools and arrested their friends during classes. Syrian authorities claim that unknown armed gangs financed by unknown sources are coming from unknown places and killing the civilians and children in Syria. But the Human Rights Watch report says that “Children, some as young as 13, reported to Human Rights Watch that officers kept them in solitary confinement, severely beat and electrocuted them, burned them with cigarettes, and left them to dangle from metal handcuffs for hours at a time, centimeters above the floor”. No child talked about armed gangs. Many families of tortured and murdered children remain silent out of fear for the rest of their children, but a number of families have gone to the media after escaping from Syria. One father told the horrific details of what had happened to his 13 year-old boy in detention. His son, Thamer, was arrested for a couple of weeks and returned lifeless, carrying the marks of electric shocks, broken bones and wounds from a drill used on his face and body. Humanity must accept the enormous responsibility of protecting these children. One action that must be taken is to send a letter to the Russian and Chinese embassies in your country, urging the Russian government to stop sending weapons to the Syrian regime, and urging Chinese government to stop its diplomatic support. You can find the address on the embassies’ websites in your country. Of course social media is a vital tool to urge the world into action, and tell everyone you know. You can organize a silent rally in your city and light a candle for people's souls. Only together can we save the children of Syria. And tonight, before you sleep, close your eyes and sing for children in Syria: Hush now baby don't you cry, rest your wings my butterfly, peace will come to you in time.
This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future a program of World Pulse that provides rigorous new media and citizen journalism training for grassroots women leaders. World Pulse lifts and unites the voices of women from some of the most unheard regions of the world.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future 2012 Assignments: Op-Eds.