Children of Conflict: Syria to Kashmir

Sumera Reshi
Posted August 20, 2019 from United Arab Emirates
Syrian Girl in Al Zaatari Refugees Camp in Jordon.
Princess in Rags (1/3)

Children of Conflict: Syria to Kashmir

Sumera B. Reshi 

According to the UNICEF, childhood is the time for children to be in school and at play, to grow strong and confident with the love and encouragement of their family and an extended community of caring adults. At this stage, children should be free from fear, safe from violence and protected from abuse and exploitation. Unfortunately, not all children get this opportunity of having a safe and peaceful childhood. Half of the Syrian children have grown up knowing nothing but conflict. Approximately, five million children require urgent and ongoing humanitarian assistance. At present, there are some 6.2 million people internally displaced in Syria and the 5.6 million Syrian refugees who are homeless. And children in Kashmir needs to be protected from pellet guns, nevertheless, a big question arises, is the world aware of the miseries of these vulnerable children of conflict?

In contested zones, from Syria to Kashmir, children often remain the most vulnerable in the conflict. They are hopeless and homeless. They are the first-hand eye witness to the bloodbath, torture and tyranny of their oppressors. They are mentally and physically sick. These children particularly lack hope, a hope for better tomorrow, a hope for peace.

For example, in Al Zaatari refugee camp, north of Jordan, over 58 per cent of refugees are children aged 0–17 years. Their lives have been turned upside down. School and play is a distant memory. Their childhood is not normal. It is full of inconsistencies and questions.   The conflict has snatched their happiness and smile, mainly their future.   Without least doubt, the burden of conflict has affected all demographics, especially children, a vulnerable lot. Humanitarian agencies were and can provide momentary help, but they have failed to save the innocence of the children of conflict. These children lack proper education and social protection spaces coupled with the physical and psychological damages.  One can see the pain in the eyes of a Syrian girl who lives in Al Zaatari refugee camp in the north of Jordan. The civil war in Syria succeeded in wiping all the innocence from the face of this girl and many like her but it failed to steal her beauty. Even in rags, she is no less than a princess. Alas! The civilized world couldn’t feel pain in her eyes and many more girls.

This story doesn’t end here. Far in another corner of the globe is a tiny region claimed by three key players of South Asia - Kashmir. Baby Hiba Jan is the youngest pellet victim in Kashmir. She was hit by a pellet in her right eye. Hiba may not see ever again through her one eyes. Last year, when Kashmir was on boil over the rumours of the abrogation of Article 35 A, Hiba was hit by a pellet which has made a hole right in the middle of her eyeball.

Last year, Hiba was operated once to stop the bleeding from the eye and will be operated again as per the doctors in Kashmir. The images of Hiba flashed on social media and sparked outrage with many Kashmiris calling it another low in state's anti-militancy operations. India has been using pellet guns against protesters in recent years and this widespread use of pellet has led to an estimated 3,000 people in the region sustaining eye injuries –people in Kashmir call it a ‘dead eye epidemic’.

Since 2010, pellet guns aka pump-action shotgun killed 14 people in Kashmir according to the Amnesty International. As per the Omega Research Foundation, a UK based charity that monitors military technologies, pellet guns are commonly used by hunters. The ammunition is not designed for crowd control, however, for India Kashmiris are not people but a herd of sheep, so using pellet guns is not illegal. The protests, demand for freedom is all anti-national for India but killing the people in Kashmir is permissible as per Indian and humanitarian law. This is another facet of imposed democracy worldwide and Kashmir is no exception. Hate begets hate and violence begets violence. There is no endpoint and the vicious circle goes on non-stop breeding more conflict. If the circle doesn’t end, there won’t be humans in this world. So where is this civilized and uncivilized world heading to?

Comments 15

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Hello, Sumera,

How tragic. Innocent people esp children deserve better lives than this. Oh, poor Hiba and the rest of the innocent children. Why does it have to be violent? I don't understand these conflicts.

Stay strong, sister. Your voice is stronger than ever! You are voice of these voiceless children. Keep fighting! We hope for that new day to come where all of you can have your lives back.

Hugs!

Sumera Reshi
Aug 20
Aug 20

Dear Karen,

That is what worries me. There are thousands of Hiba's in the world bearing the brunt of conflict. I am not only worried about my family rather all human beings who are directly or indirectly hit by the conflict. Indian took sight of Hiba and the world snatched smile of that Syria girl. They have the right to live here in this world habituated by God's best creation.
Regards,
Sumera

Yes, oh, yes! Everyone has a right to live here. Each of us has a space in this world. I'm really angered that this is happening.

I worry about you and the thousands others, sister. Oh, you are still in your survival state now, but I hope you and the rest won't have post-traumatic stress disorder. I hope you do a lot of self-care there. Stay strong.

Jill Langhus
Aug 21
Aug 21

Hello Dear Sumera,

How are you today? This piece is so strong. You sound like you are more grounded and strong in this post and less panicky and hopeless, yes? I do hope this is the case. You are and will be the voice for the voiceless. Perhaps you will help shake the rest of the world out of its stupor to end the cycle of hatred and violence.

You may want to consider submitting this story under one of the "Voices Rising" topics, such as "Peace and Security" or one of the others? https://www.worldpulse.com/raise-your-voice

Keep 'em coming! Have you thought about starting a blog, if you haven't already?

XX

Sumera Reshi
Aug 21
Aug 21

My dear sister,

Yes, I am a bit relieved even though I have no contact with my family. It is because of WP sisters support, especially you and Karen. I am grateful to you. I am emerging strong and you as my mentor. A good combo. Yes, I will continue writing on such issues. Thanks for all your support.

Regards,
Sumera

Jill Langhus
Aug 21
Aug 21

Hello lovely:-)

I'm glad, but sad to hear that it continues:-(

You are emerging strong:-) Good for you!

You're very welcome!

XX

Sumera Reshi
Aug 21
Aug 21

Thank you so much, my dear lovely lady.

Jill Langhus
Aug 23
Aug 23

You're so welcome, dear...XX

Rosylyne Nabaala
Aug 21
Aug 21

Thank you for sharing this and it's true we must care for children, let's look for ways to assist coz together we can make it. So tauching.

Sumera Reshi
Aug 21
Aug 21

Dear Rosylyne,

Thanks for your comments and yes together we can make a difference.

Tamarack Verrall
Aug 23
Aug 23

Dear Sumera,
It is these stories that we need be sent out and read, and known widely, so that we can keep in the front of our heads, and in front of our hearts, to work together to end all of these wars, and to bring peace and safety to everyone, everywhere. Thank you for sending news.
In sisterhood,
Tam

Sumera Reshi
Aug 23
Aug 23

Dear Tam,
Thanks for reading my piece. In contested zones, there are heart-wrenching stories of rape, torture and many more. Can you imagine Kashmir is under siege since August 4 and the so-called civilized is not moved at all as if we a flock of sheep rather than human beings? In an age of 5G technology, there is a complete communication blackout in Kashmir. That is we need to amplify these stories to the world which is busy in economics only.
Regards,
Sumera

Tumanjong Miranda
Aug 24
Aug 24

Dear Sumera,
I can relate with you. Some years ago, if I was told I will experience what your countey has been through, I'd not have believed. Today I feel your pain because children from my region too face these problems now.
Children deserve a good childhoid experience, but in the midst of conflict, they turn to be depressed and frustrated.
Thank you sister for being the voice to the voiceless. Continue to be strong and courageous.
There is hope!!

Sumera Reshi
Aug 25
Aug 25

Dear Miranda,

Thanks for empathizing with me. My hurt and pain are so deep. Imagine a country which calls itself a democracy can deceitfully cage a population and the forcefully cage them. And then the world is silent because they have economic interests with India.

Regards,
Sumera

Lisbeth
Aug 24
Aug 24

Poor girl oo. She is very pretty girl. My prayers are over you all there. Thanks for sharing.