Children in War

February 23, 2009


Seeing the pictures of the extremely adorable young cast of Slumdog Millionaire at the Oscars brought up unfortunate memories of the suffering of children in Gaza. Made old before their time, an estimated 98% of Gazan children suffer from severe psychological trauma. 

“Children comprise 47 per cent of Gaza’s population and are extremely vulnerable,” Pringle adds. “It seems the international community is neglecting them, that somehow Palestinian children don’t deserve the protections guaranteed under the Geneva Convention and humanitarian law. We must remember that where we drop our bombs, plant our landmines, and aim our guns, is where children are born, play, and go to school.” 


This particular boy, Emad, tells the story of his family’s experience of having their house destroyed during the shelling of Gaza.

“I used to sleep here and put my bookbag here… When I am alone I think, what is going to happen? I can’t stand it.”

Continuing with the theme of children in wartime, Caryl Churchill’s new play “Seven Jewish Children” explores the psychological repercussions of war on children and the various well-meaning and/or slightly insidious ways that patriotism, blind faith and lies are transferred to the next generation. The entire script is available here. http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/18/is-a-play-about-gaza-anti-semitic-read-the-script/

Let’s hope that the ridiculous and stale charges of “anti-Semitism” will not stop this play from being performed in New York. It is high time that moralists and apologists like Christopher Hart and Justin Hoffman face their own discomfort with the fact that some Israeli parents might harbor racist feelings. Christopher Hart’s worry that Churchill’s organizing of medical aid for Palestinians makes the play dangerously one-sided is appalling. Should she have provided a booth for fundraising to help the 13 Israelis suffering from shock, I wonder? 

Billington said of Churchill: “What she captures, in remarkably condensed poetic form, is the transition that has overtaken Israel, to the point where security has become the pretext for indiscriminate slaughter.” While the play solves nothing, it “shows theater’s power to heighten consciousness and articulate moral outrage.”