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Columns and Articles by Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman

April 05, 2014

“When They Love Their Children….”

Many years ago, Golda Meir, then Prime Minister of Israel, was asked when there would be peace with the Arab world. She said: “We will have peace when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.” We need to look at that astute observation again today because she was right.

A UN observer has released a devastating report on Syria, in which both the government forces and the Islamist insurgents are imprisoning, torturing, raping, and killing children to make a point to their oppositions. Both sides appear to be equally horrible. This demonstrates the disinterest in human rights (and the disdain for children) in today’s Syrian society. Sad to say, this is not an anomaly created by war. It is a global horror shared by more than just Syrian culture.

• Syria. When the Syrian insurgency began, the government attempted to make a point that they were not going to be rolled over. They kidnapped a dissident’s child, tortured him, and sent his body parts back to the family. When things like this happen today, news of it spreads via modern communications around the world. It so horrified the developed world that there was a movement to take sides with the dissidents and there were cries from both French and American political figures to go after the Syrian government with military force. Unfortunately, the dissidents have shown themselves to be equally horrible, with the additional threat that should they win, Syria would no longer even pretend to be a modern state. It would be a medieval Muslim state.

• Gaza. The Islamist Jihad terror group has set up a summer camp in Rafah for teens: not to play sports but to join war games organized by Islamic Jihad. The boys are taught how to strip down an AK-47 assault rifle, crawl through tunnels and run across burning tires amid the sound of explosions. The children, sad to say, are recruited from the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, the longest and only refugee facility in the world designed for permanence.

Hamas has opened other summer camps hosting 100,000 students, boys and girls from 10 to 21, also doing military training. An alarmed Gaza psychologist (anonymous) said that “This presents a danger to their lives and contravenes international laws for the protection of children.” Indeed it does, but when children are encouraged to become suicide bombers, one wonders how much such people love their children at all.

• Child Warriors. It is difficult to see how the many militants roiling Africa love their children either. It has been a practice (dating from the civil wars in The Ivory Coast and Liberia) to use boy children as drugged-up warriors and girl children as sexual and manual slaves. The conflicts in the Central African Republic has followed suit, indifferent to global outrage. This practice has become ubiquitous all over the lesser-developed parts of Africa.

• Haiti. It has long been known how too many Haitians, both the desperately poor and the well to do, regard children as things, not people. The poor rent out their young boys and girls for sexual exploitation by sex tourists, as beggars, and as house slaves (rest avec).

• Thailand. Sex tourism has also reared its ugly head in Thailand too, and perhaps because the Thais love their own children, they recruit sex slaves from among their poorer neighboring countries. India is a source for such child (and particularly female) victims.

• Egypt. Impoverished families have long sold their little girls (and boys) to well-healed Saudi sex tourists. In addition, one must note that even among the better off Egyptians (and others across North Africa), they do not love their daughters enough to stop the traditional mutilation of their genitals. Social pressure is much more important than love of one’s children.

• Modern World. The concern for children is a product of our western modern world. We only need to look back over a few centuries to remember that the children of the poor were economic assets, not household treasures. Today’s horrors are remnants of a terrible past and must be condemned.

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Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of God’s Law or Man’s Law: the Fundamentalist Challenge to Secular Rule. You may contact her at www.globalthink.net or Lfarhat102@aol.com.