Tuesday, 24 July 2018

When a Child's Toy Becomes a Weapon of Terror

“Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul.” 
Dave Pelzer

Is there anyone here who does not recall the song of joy that filled their heart upon seeing those brightly coloured rubber sacs inflated with air and then sealed at the neck, used as a children's toy or a decoration? 

We call them Balloons. 

They have been an inseparable part of and associated with happy events and the celebration of special milestones in our life. They come in different shapes, colours and they generally carry a cheerful and optimistic atmosphere.

That is and should continue to be the sole purpose and sole use of balloons.

Some, unfortunately, have transformed this token of bliss into a weapon of terror. They have burst the legacy of these playthings and turned them into a nightmare, an inferno. We have witnessed it in the recent antics of some Gazans as reflected in the thousands of acres of scorched fields on the Yisraeli side of the border.

I cannot help but compare this new form of warfare to a similar phenomenon some had been through a couple of years ago. Surely, many remember the movie “It” about an evil clown that causes havoc and destruction. Any child would tell us that clowns are meant to bring only joy, laughter and pleasure.  Imagine turning clowns, the source of bliss to many children be it at parties or hospitals, into a subject of dread and apprehension.

Can we even begin to fathom the effects of such antics on the hearts, minds and souls of those who witness the metamorphosis of their childhood symbols of happiness and elation into a vision of destruction and death? Do we even have the tools to measure the damage inflicted upon young lives and the shattering of dreams of a bright future? How will anyone ever be able to explain to them that at the end of the day, we have failed them? Will we ever be able to rectify the denial of hope, of aspirations and the fantasy lining of the fabric of their innocence - all privileges that no child should be deprived of?

I was among those young souls a few days during Operation “Protective Edge,” several years ago. I witnessed their pale faces, their sad expressions. That was war. Every child knows that war is bad. I doubt they have had any expectations then, even at their young tender age.

However, to depict symbols of innocence, toys and tokens of joy and reassurance and turn them into weapons of terror is a measure that NO children, wherever they dwell, should ever experience.

Hoping for better days for all.

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