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It’s About The Children — Or At Least It Should Be!

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By Muhammad Hamza ShahPublished 20 days ago 4 min read
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Source: France24

Picture, if you will, the tender souls of Gaza's children, their laughter mingling with the deafening noise of airstrikes and gunfire. Their eyes, likely a reflection of both resilience and vulnerability – yet another poignant reminder of the dualities of life in a conflict zone.

For these children, the principle of distinction isn't just a legal abstraction but a matter of life and death. Israeli necropolitics, with its indiscriminate policies and actions, blurs the lines between combatants and civilians, leaving no sanctuary for those most vulnerable. According to UNICEF, over 13,000 children have been killed in Gaza, while countless others suffer from severe malnutrition and deprivation. For those that have survived, the toll on innocent lives is immeasurable, their futures uncertain in the wake of geopolitical maneuvers beyond their control.

Trapped in a cycle of suffering not of their making, these children can do little to change their circumstances. They cannot run from the violence that surrounds them, nor can they fend for themselves in the face of starvation and deprivation. Their fate lies in the hands of those with the power to make a difference – governments, international organizations, and individuals alike. Consequently, in the absence of peace and stability, the prospects for Gaza's children grow increasingly bleak. Denied access to proper education, healthcare, and basic necessities, they face a grim reality where their opportunities for growth and development are severely limited. Without intervention, they risk becoming a lost generation, condemned to a lifetime of poverty, despair, and trauma. Physically, they bear the wounds of conflict – injuries sustained from bombings and gunfire, malnutrition, and illness. Emotionally and psychologically, they carry the burden of trauma, haunted by the memories of violence and loss that have become all too familiar in their daily lives.

Drawing upon philosophical theories of moral status, such as those proposed by Mary Anne Warren and Jan Narveson, we recognize that children, including those in Gaza, possess intrinsic moral worth by virtue of their humanity. Their vulnerability and dependence do not diminish their moral status but rather highlight the imperative of ensuring their protection and well-being. Concurrently. from a developmental perspective, informed by the insights of Jean Piaget and others, we understand that childhood is not merely a preparatory stage for adulthood but a crucial period of moral growth and cognitive development. Gaza's children, amidst conflict and adversity, are not passive recipients of aid but active agents capable of moral reasoning and ethical engagement. Utilizing theories of distributive justice and human rights, we can understand the moral imperative of redressing systemic injustices and structural inequalities that perpetuate the suffering of these children. Ensuring their access to basic needs, education, healthcare, and opportunities for growth and fulfillment is not only a matter of charity but a fundamental ethical obligation grounded in principles of justice and equity. Similarly, philosophical reflections on children's rights emphasize the inherent dignity and entitlements of children within moral and legal frameworks. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child enshrines principles of protection, provision, and participation for children worldwide, irrespective of their circumstances. By upholding children's rights, including the right to life, survival, and development, we affirm the inherent value and moral significance of Gaza's children, demanding their protection and empowerment in the face of deprivation.

Without adequate support and intervention, the consequences for Gaza's children are dire. Many will struggle to overcome the traumas of war, grappling with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Others will fall victim to the cycle of violence, lured into armed groups or criminal activities as a means of survival. In this context, a ceasefire isn't just a diplomatic concession – it's a lifeline for Gaza's children. It offers a temporary respite from the relentless barrage of violence and destruction, providing a brief moment of calm amidst the chaos. During this fragile ceasefire, essential humanitarian aid can be delivered, medical facilities can be restocked, and injured children can receive life-saving treatment. Moreover, a ceasefire creates space for dialogue and diplomacy, offering an opportunity for all parties to step back from the brink of further escalation and pursue peaceful resolution. It's a chance to address the underlying grievances and grievances driving the conflict, with the ultimate goal of achieving a lasting and sustainable peace.

All this brings us to these questions: what is the worth of a human life? What is the value of a child's innocence, snuffed out by the horrors of war? These are questions that defy easy answers, yet they lie at the heart of our moral obligation to protect the most vulnerable among us. In the eyes of the international community, every child's life is priceless, every moment of innocence irreplaceable. We cannot put a price tag on the value of a human being, nor can we quantify the loss of a child's innocence.

humanity
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About the Creator

Muhammad Hamza Shah

Medical Student | Trying to discover my forte in writing while snoozing over lofty medical textbooks.

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