Suffer the Children in the Festive Season: Peace and social justice would be the best gifts for children in war zones and disadvantaged infants worldwide this Christmas.
As we head towards Christmas and the New Year, children’s rights to peaceful upbringings in the UK and worldwide seem increasingly jeopardised as current news is dominated by children caught up in the world’s various vicissitudes.
As a matter of routine, our world exclusive editorial each December has always devoted itself to highlighting the plight of children in war zones. However, this Christmas, in addition to the aforementioned cause, The Bridge Magazine is sending a message of peace and social justice not only to children in war zones, but also to other disadvantaged infants in the UK and all the children worldwide.
According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty, and they ‘die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.’
By stark contrast, £473.83 is the average amount UK households expect to splash out on presents, £273.48 in France, and £344.09 in Germany, according to recent research by voucher company RetailMeNot.
A typical scenario in a high school playground in London could unfold as follows:
John Smith: I wish for an iPhone 7 this Christmas; I had an iPhone 5s last Christmas. What do you expect this Christmas Séraphine?
Séraphine Dubois: A whole roasted Turkey, since my parents’ divorce, we rely on food banks to eat and last Christmas we could hardly afford reduced turkey slices for a Christmas dinner. And you Kim what do wish?
Kimukutu Mabika: I just want the war to stop forever in Congo, my country of origin. My sister died age 2 due to the conflict.
The school bell will then ring the end of the break and end the conversation among the youth, and, more poignantly, the similarities of their circumstances.
We can tell by listening to the above scenario that some households are overspending on Christmas presents and food while others, in the same continent, or in far away countries, for one reason or another, are living in severe poverty.
Christmas is associated with the events surrounding Jesus’ birth –a fulfilment of the Old Testament messianic prophecy. But the day is also equally associated with family festivities and, in particular, with children. There is surely no better time, therefore, to reflect on the plight of today’s disadvantaged children around the world, and to wish peace and social justice to all of them.
Disadvantaged infants worldwide can be listed as follows:
- children in war zones
- sexually abused children
- missing children
- street children
- Children from broken families (divorced, parent death, in prison and others…)
- children victim to malnutrition, famine, and extreme poverty
- children victim to disease
We are all responsible for the continued suffering of innocent children caught up in the world’s war zones.
But for the children trapped in armed conflicts –not to mention the tens of thousands of children currently living in abject poverty in austerity-hit Western countries too– Christmas is not about the latest sophisticated toy, or electronic device, the latest iPod or video game: it is about trying to salvage some semblance of comfort, safety and normality during the festive season. They just want to live; to survive.
The sad news is that many world governments have not only been encouraging but also actively participating in arms exports to 15 North African and Arab regimes during the last decade.
Humanity has, through its own ingenuity, achieved huge advances in living standards in recent decades. Yet at the same time the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and adult civilians are being destroyed by wars and conflicts. We have yet to successfully prevent children from being sexually exploited, domestically abused, missing, starving or generally neglected to list just a few hazards.
Preserving children from suffering is one of the most daunting challenges of our era. Looking at the death toll of children throughout the world’s war zones, as well as at statistics for missing children, and those millions of children from impoverished and/or broken families growing up malnourished, or in many cases, physically and psychologically damaged, it is not difficult to see just how vast and all-pervasive is the very real threat today to the wellbeing, if not long-term survival, of future generations.
How many children around the world have died in war zones?
How many children around the world have died in famines, from malnutrition or associated diseases?
How many children around the world have gone missing?
How many children come from broken families?
But for outcast children, children in need, street children, and children trapped in war zones, or closer to home, the best present Father Christmas could ever bring to the tens of millions of suffering children throughout the world this Christmastime would be to end their suffering and ensure their survival and wellbeing into the future.
It is up to us, the adults of the world, to keep fighting and campaigning towards the eradication of all causes and agents throughout the world which continue to hamper the healthy development and growth of children.
The Bridge Magazine wishes
Merry Christmas to the tens of thousands of children stuck in unsafe Bed and Breakfast accommodation in the UK this Christmas, due to their parents being evicted from their homes due to benefit caps, sanctions and the bedroom tax.
Merry Christmas to all children in war zones!
Merry Christmas to all the disadvantaged children around the globe!
Merry Christmas to every child around the world!