Suffer the children

Refugees (20 cms x 40 cms charcoal and pastel 2016)

It’s always the children, isn’t it? It’s always the kids who get it.

When the strutting despot, Putin, decides to help out his old pal, genocidal tyrant Bashar Al-Assad, before too long hospitals and schools and aid convoys are bombed; the UN Security Council gets angry and the usual suspects play their veto cards like this is some bizarre game where the person who wins is the one who does the least. Before you know it, Iran is implicated. The EU discusses sanctions but somehow nothing happens. The British government says it’s OK to sell fighter planes to countries where human rights mean even less than women’s rights. Refugees pour over borders and citizens panic: far right-wingers make a play for government by stoking up fear and dread in the electorate. Desperate people cram boats made of scrap metal and hope and drown in the Mediterranean, their bodies washed ashore in Greece and Italy. For some reason we cannot remember the lessons of Auschwitz, Hiroshima, or the killing fields of Cambodia.

Then, in a town called Khan Sheikhoun, government aircraft drop bombs one Tuesday morning while everyone sleeps. Mohammed Rasoul, the head of a charity ambulance service, tells the BBC that his medics had found people, many of them children, choking in the street. Blue lips, foaming from the mouth, eyes reddened and sore: it seemed certain this was a chemical attack. Putin condemns the ‘groundless accusations’ of Syrian government responsibility. Trump slams the stable door knowing the horse left long ago.

Once again, there they are, wrapped up in blankets torn from someone’s unmade bed or held in a weeping father’s arms – the children. The collateral damage. Twenty-seven short lives lived in fear snuffed out, just like that.

Some time later, Bashar Al-Assad wakes up with a start in the middle of the night; all around his bed are the pale, ghostly faces of all the children he caused to be murdered in order to cling on to power. They do nothing but stare, the room feels airless with pity.

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36 thoughts on “Suffer the children

  1. I always thought the best punishment for Cheney and Rumsfeld and Bush would have been for them to relive all the deaths their macho posturing caused. So I find your similar idea for Assad to be very appropriate.
    Yes, Trump…and by the way, don’t let any refugees in, but what a big man I am. I’ll avenge their deaths, but I won’t support their lives.
    Beautiful haunting illustration. (K)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree with what the others have said about your touching art and words. ❤ I keep wishing for a special hell for people like Putin and Assad who care for no one but themselves and don't think twice about hurting others.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am waiting for a time, and I hope it is in my lifetime, when the only bombs dropped are those which carry truth and peace. Seems fitting to behold on this day, the faces of children, to absorb the innocence of a pencil stroke which gestures in more than just facial detail. Am drawn in, to the images, the words; somehow I am encouraged, no not encouraged, but rather incited to do the same in my own little way.
    Came here by way of ‘Jots’. She, a good person and artist or is it artist and good person. Plus, she doesn’t tell me ‘to go away’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, LuAnne. The reason I rarely do current affairs posts is that the news is always ahead of me: another 50+ children dead a couple of days ago: killed by someone pretending to give away potato chips from a truck packed with explosives. Imagine how shrivelled up your heart must be to think up something like that…

      Like

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  5. This is beautiful. Unfortunately, the pain does not just end with children killed by bombing or arms. I have worked as a researcher in humanitarian aid in Turkey the past two years and if not killed, the refugee children end up living in abject poverty or often become child labourers. Child brides are an addition too. It is the hardest thing to face, the lost generation.

    Liked by 1 person

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