Thursday, February 12, 2015

12-Feb-15: It's Red Hand Day. Do you know where the children are?

We first mentioned Red Hand Day here two years ago ["24-Jan-13: Sacrificing the lives of an entire generation of adolescents..."] which is marked on February 12 of each year. That's of course today's date. It's a day that serves as an occasion to encourage political leaders to be aware of the fate of children forced to serve as soldiers in wars and armed conflicts. Wikipedia says 
The aim of Red Hand Day is to call for action against this practice, and support for children who are affected by it. Children have been used repeatedly as soldiers in recent years including armed conflicts... A number of international organizations are active against the use of children as soldiers. These organizations include, for example, the United Nations Child Fund (UNICEF), Amnesty InternationalTerre des Hommes or the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
As memorable events go, Red Hand Day isn't, frankly. It's hugely overshadowed by commemorations that have a stronger following at this time of year: Valentines Day, for instance, which has the enthusiastic backing of shop-keepers and gift manufacturers. There isn't much enthusiastic backing from the people whose mandate ought to include generating awareness of Red Hand Day, and in particular the egregious ways its message is trampled in Gaza and in the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, 
An iconic message of the 60's and 70's
[Image Source]

Just two days ago, we wrote ["10-Feb-15: The Islamists of Gaza: Yet again preparing children to kill and be killed"] about how cynical (and lethal) abuse of Arab children has become an open secret that is carefully ignored by some of the world's most important, best-funded child-welfare organizations. We're still waiting to hear them address the awful things done in broad daylight to Gazan Palestinian Arab children by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and their fellow Islamists. We have learned not to expect much.

In a post ["27-Mar-08: Palestinian infanticide"] here by Frimet Roth nearly seven years ago, we quoted a speech broadcast on the Hamas Al Aqsa television channel that MEMRI had translated into English, under the title "We Used Women and Children as Human Shields". In it, a Hamas spokesman boasts that 
"death has become an industry at which women excel and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this and so do the mujahideen and the children... This is why they [the Palestinian people] have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly and the mujahideen..."

Anyone familiar with the tragic realities of Gaza knows how right he is.

Frimet then recalled how Dr Hanan Ashrawi had appeared on the CBS "Sixty Minutes" program back in October 2000 [transcript here], injecting heat, but not so much light, into an interview with the show's Bob Simon (who incidentally died in tragic circumstances this morning in New York City):
"To me this is the essence, the epitome, of racism... They're telling us we are – we have no feelings for our children? We're not parents? We're not mothers or fathers? This is just incredible.

The photo is from a decade ago (here's one source).
Where is this Palestinian Arab child now? 
What sort of life has he been living?
As Frimet wrote in that 2008 postIndeed it is. But we in the Middle East learned long ago that reality can be incredible.

Many Americans will know that certain television channels down through the sixties, seventies and even today, broadcast a public service announcement late at night (it's described here), intended as a reminder to parents to worry about the younger generation. Times change, children are now agents of death in large parts of the world, and it's right (as Red Hand Day today reminds us) to think about what the despots and fanatics in charge of various jihad-addicted parts of the world, including the cities where many of us live, have done: 
Do we know where their children are? And what they are being taught to do? And if we do, why is so little being done about it? 
For the letter-writers among our readers, please consider sending this along to UNICEFDefence for Children InternationalUNESCOChild Rights International Network, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Washington-based Jerusalem FundSave the ChildrenArab Council for Childhood Development and others in the thriving children's rights industry

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