If The World Knew

November 8, 2011
By Anonymous

Imagine waking up to find your father has been taken from your home. Your younger siblings’ are crying as they watch their mother fight to stay with her children. You walk over the bricks and broken roads left over from the multiple bombings to get to the grocery store so you can prepare a meal for your brothers and sisters. There are men at every corner holding machine guns, prepared to attack at the sight of anything that looks out of the ordinary. You try to avoid eye contact because you do not want your fear to be taken as suspicion. All that comes to mind is, “why?” Now imagine experiencing all of this at the age of ten, having to care for your younger siblings when you are a child yourself. Due to the fact that these children are living a life in poverty, depression, and trauma, they will never have an ideal childhood and will never see the world for what it should be.
First and foremost, it is common to feel empathy for these young victims, but in order to understand poverty through the eye of a child we have to understand what goes through their mind. This quote was said by an African American child living in poverty, “I know poverty because poverty was there before I was born and it has become part of life like the blood through my veins. Poverty is not going empty for a single day and getting something to eat the next day. Poverty is going empty with no hope for the future.” According to the Wavumbuzi Charity website, a single poor child said this quote; imagine how many other children in poverty feel this way. These children feel so alienated from the rest of the world because they are not being treated as a human being. America gives $3 billion dollars to Israel for war annually (Paul, Ron). The Acri website states that thirty- six percent of children in Israel live in poverty. In 2000, the Fighting Poverty website announced that less than one percent of what was spent every year on weapons by the world was needed to put every child into school; however, it was never given. Why is it so simple for America to give money to Israel for weapons, but when it comes to giving money to put children through school we hesitate?
Children in poverty face limitless struggles. What these children are scared by most is the feeling of loneliness and feeling worthless. They feel as if there is no hope for the future, and that is partly true. The Urban Institute stated that children born into poverty are more likely to live in poverty for the rest of their lives. According to the website “Poverty”, 25,000 people die a day from hunger. These children are set up to fail from the moment they are born. Yet, America is more concerned with aiding these wars then aiding these children.
Next, children in poverty are at a greater risk of becoming depressed. It is no surprise that after witnessing what these children go through on a day-to-day basis that it would result in depression. These children are living the lives of adults. Caring for their siblings like they are their own children, and taking care of their parents when they are too ill to take care of themselves. Personally visiting a foreign country at war, you see the affect it has on the people living there and it begins to have an effect on you. The filth on the ground and the children roaming the streets barefoot aimlessly makes you reevaluate your own life.
I have visited Israel numerous times, and seeing the amount of destruction that can occur after five years still shocks me today. In 2005, the destruction began however it was not nearly as bad as it is today. In 2010 I had seen graffiti on the walls of homes, broken bricks on the ground, and children at the age of five trying to sell gum so they can bring home money to their families. It did not feel as if I was revisiting a country because this was not the placed I left five years ago. These children wake up to gunshots, are blocked off from half their country, and are scared that after they step foot out of their house they will not return. What kind of world is this? It’s no wonder they fall into depression, it would be impossible not to. All of the destruction, tears, and fear for land. This endless war is because Israeli’s and Palestinians cannot come to an agreement on land. We find in silly living in America, but imagine how these children feel about it after watching their family members die and country destroyed because of it.
Finally, these children suffer from trauma. These children experience this because they have seen such painful things living the life of war. It is simple to say to look forward; however, how do you tell a child who’s seen their parents killed, or their country demolished to move forward? Unfortunately, when shocking things happen in your childhood it has a long- lasting affect on you. Being traumatized as a child makes you more likely to make you traumatized as an adult. For example, an article “Effects of Traumatic Experiences,” stated that someone who has suffered from distress in the past may still find the need to get an alarm system, double lock their doors, build a fence, and get a guard dog in a safe neighborhood simply because they always feel like they are in danger.
These children begin to fear the world and see it as a dangerous place. Not having anyone to rely on while growing up will give no reason to expect to have anyone reliable in the future. They begin to trust no one, especially adults. They grow to become stressed easily, and to always expect disappointment. Living a life alone or feeling as if you are always in danger, and having no expectations for the future is no life at all. Everyone deserves a chance to live his or her life to the fullest potential. What opportunity are these children given if the only thing they have ever been in their life is let down?

Due to the fact that these children are living a life in poverty, depression, and trauma, they will never have an ideal childhood and will never see the world for what it should be. Looking at the world through a different perspective is an eye opener. If the world knows the affect wars have on children, why do we still put them through it? Is it worth the power, land, and revenge? Look at it like this, the day a parent has to bury their child because they were killed in war, is too much. The day a child cries over their mother because she has been taken for no reason is the day we should have known this has gone too far. Under no circumstances should a child have to watch their mother, fathers, sister, or brother abused or die. No parent should ever have to bury their child. Killing innocent civilians is not protecting anyone, it is murder. The day that a ten-year-old boy, is trying to raise his family, is the day this world should have realized this is not the life we should be giving these children. However, these scenarios have happened, and are happening today. When will it be the day that this will all be over for the sake of these children? After all, everyone deserves a fair shot at life.

The author's comments:
I was inspired to write this piece when I visited Palestine, and saw the lives the children lived.

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