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Commentary :: War and Militarism
A poem For Our Children
17 Aug 2006
Our Children!

A Poem About Our Children

Mary La Rosa • 24 July 2006

Some of the most disturbing pictures to me coming from the present conflict in the Middle East involved Israeli schools girls writing messages upon missiles intended to curtail Hezbollah , that will also have the greatest capacity to continue to harm any and all children still living in Beirut, while Hezbollah missiles continue to harm children in Israel.

O! what messages we send to our future generation via our intentions and actions! And as if it is not evil enough that we pass on a legacy of harmful substances, diseases, along with a climate and environment in crisis, we also seem to pass on this culture of hatred and warfare.

It is a legacy of harmful woe for all our young ones.

Not only is a ceasefire necessary to peace ....but prisoner release, including the release of Israeli soldiers and political prisoners in Israeli prisons could make for a better progress.

Israel has the capacity and leverage to free hundreds of children and women existing under a harsh prison system. According to Defense For Children International-Palestine there are 388 Palestinian children presently being held in Israeli prisons. What are these child prisoners learning in prison? And how, in any practical way can they take what they learn from hardened criminals and make it safer for Israel to exist? or better for Palestine?

To release children and women would help the peace process and certainly create a leverage for peace.

It is an impracticality towards peace to keep children in detention.

In the past Israel has often negotiated the release of political prisoners. Very few of the released are either women or children!

Why not release the children, especially those rounded up in group detentions? Why not focus upon women who are the mothers of future generations? Small attention is ever given to women political prisoners or those who are children.

Palestinian children rounded up in group detentions are often coerced into false confessions and then held indefinitely. According to Israeli military orders, children aged 16 and above are treated as adults and frequently are tortured in captivity and often kept in prison with hardened criminals. What do children learn in such a place?

Children are always better off in school rather than prisons or roaming the streets in gangs. Unfortunately, school is not an option for many Palestinian children. There are walls and bombs to keep them from attendance.

Women are kept under hideous conditions in Israeli prisons and subjected to harsh conditions and discipline.To become a female political prisoner in Israel is a hideous fate that forgets and neglects human rights. Women continue to suffer and give birth in prisons.

Immediate cease fire and the release of political prisoners (especially minors and women) would send a clear intention from Israel towards peace. There is no doubt Israel has a strong armed force. There is no doubt the Palestinian people have suffered for it. There is no doubt Lebanese children shall continue to suffer for it and that Israeli children will also suffer.

I greatly doubt that there are those who sincerely seek a peace. Because they would seek peace, if that is their intention.

I wish to remove all war mongers from power. It is the least we can do for our children.

It may be the naive hope of an old woman but I am not alone and I call out to all others like me. Come together. Now.

Our children
our future!
wasted by disease
neglect and politick
often left behind
in the debris of bombs and wars
small broken bodies
brief lives that
bear the burden of witness
to the grim ugliness of adult nationalism and sectarianism

Our children!
Our sweetness and light!
stunted in their beautiful state of growth
that is their natural birthright and earthright!
who are doomed to never grow up
never to survive
or endure
beyond the moment of each missile and bomb
our beautiful potential
are they lost forever?

It is the hard core of hatred
that takes them from us and
makes our lives so so much less for it
without them.

A grief that can not be consoled
Without them we are nothing
just some old generation
and a lost cause for peace without hope.

I weep for the terminated children
and all of the children who remain
and who become the robots of hatred
their youth contaminated by adults
who continue to spread messages of hatred
without concern or care
for the safety of any child or any future anywhere

Children left behind grow up in this hateful way
stunted and hopelessly blighted and doomed.
Why do we do this to them?
Why do we teach them about bombs and bombing?

Our children!
Our most precious treasure
our resource
our future
our hope
for the world
for peace
for humankind

How do we teach them peace and human kindness?
How do we give them a further life
a better life
a better planet?

By our actions
daily and politically
towards all children
at all times
especially during these most difficult times
for all children
and always by our example
over and over again
rigtheous peaceful example
with greater wisdom towards peace
during these most difficult times
in constant non violence
and in constant good intention
and reminder
on behalf of ALL children
of their intrinsic rights as children
to exist

They are All Our children.

Do not teach them how to make messages on missiles.
Do not teach them how to become martyrs for any cause.

Teach them how to live
Teach them how to make their life a bit better
a bit brighter
a bit longer
in a safer place
a more beautiful place
that we adults have the power to create and maintain
for them

Help them to realize their dream and not their nightmare.

It is up to us.
It is now.

Mary La Rosa is a cranky librarian from NYC

Other articles about women and children in Israeli prisons

~The Rites of Americans~

This work is in the public domain
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