A Child's Tears

A picture was published in the LA Times recently that should break the heart of every American who has ever loved their child or their grandchild or just children, period. The photo is of a Rwandan refugee child, perhaps two or three years of age, standing alone while crying and wringing his small, dirty little hands in fear and anguish. Adults stand nearby but with their backs turned on the wrenching scene as if the sight has become far too commonplace for notice.

This incident and so many like it are occurring every day all over the world. This child is a refugee from a country in the midst of a civil war and forced to flee to another country also in the heat of national war.

Why even bring up what is the norm for most of the world? Why mention or discuss events happening thousands of miles away in some backwater African nation that you've seldom heard of and certainly have no intention of ever going to for a vacation?

Because the war and the death and the misery this child is forced to experience every day of his young life is the complete fault of the weak minded adults that pretend to run this world. This little guy didn't sell the guns to some half wit dictator nor did he start killing people who belonged to a different tribe or race or neighborhood or country nor did he support any of the above because his business got richer from the wretchedness of others. He was simply unlucky enough to have been born into a world where the cries of a small child cannot be heard over the explosions of war and the constant self-serving lies and excuses from politician's mouths and the holy vacillating from the world's supposed religious leaders.

It matters not whether these so-called adults have fine justifications for their acts of horror. It matters not that somebody killed somebody a thousand years ago and the local clods have just gotten around to exacting vengeance. It matters not at all that the oil or gold or whatever these imbeciles are at war over will make some minuscule portion of the world a little bit wealthier.

All that matters to his tiny heart is that the world is making no sense to him. All that matters is that his mother or his father or his brother or sister is dead or missing. All that matters is that he should be playing with his toys, not worried about land mines and barbed wire All that matters is that he hasn't enough to eat and that the smell of death surrounds him day and night. All that matters to him is that his every waking moment is a series of corruptions straight from the bowels of Hell.

I look at this picture and think about how my heart would be destroyed if it was my little boy. I think about my boy never again having the innocence and pure, unadulterated childish joy at the wonders he sees every day. Never again being able to laugh at a bug crawling across the walk or being filled with wonder at the beauty of a rock he found. Never again finding the beauty of this world because he had seen too much of the horrors that we adults seem to think of as our right to inflict on anyone in any situation from whom we can make a profit. Never again seeing the world through the eyes of a child because Seinfeld was on and we just didn't want to take the time to notice his misery.

We inflict these abominations on children at every opportunity. If it isn't through the agony of war, then it is the world's richest country punishing them for our right wing, greedy, self-absorbed hatred of their parent's financial status. If we can't cause enough harm that way, then we argue about the cost of providing basic health care for those far too small to find a job with health care benefits or even to know the way to the doctor's office if they fall ill.

While we as a nation stand around singing our little patriotic songs and slapping ourselves on the back for being such a fine and powerful nation, our children suffer. While we supplicate our lives and our futures to the almighty dollar and worship at the throne of Corporate greed, our children go to bed hungry and ill. While our politicians cry for tax relief for the wealthy and more financial assistance for Corporations to make more profits with fewer employees, our children live in poverty and need. While our churches expend their energies trying to inflict their self-ignored morals on the nation, our children live in a Hell on earth.

Readers, it is all of our fault that the world has sunk to this level. Perhaps there was a period in history when the suffering of children could be rationalized away but that time is long passed. We must find the strength to put an end to the lies and abominations that pass for life and truth in this world. We must look down and see what is truly important; our children. We have been given the responsibility of protecting and raising and educating and nourishing these small humans. We are failing miserably.

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copyright 5/3/97