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Let our children enjoy their innocence

 Looking at a CNN cable news clip, just after Christmas, on war-ravaged Syria, what made an indelible impression on me were the numbers of children out in the field and in the cold, some alone, some at the side of their parents, with seemingly nowhere to go. 

But what struck home long after the news was over were those sad eyes of the children as they looked into the camera as if to plead only for “a manger for bed”, on this “cold winter’s night that was so deep”, not even for a toy or a piece of Christmas cake which, for them, would have been the stuff of dreams. 

And seeing this, I thought of my

18-month-old granddaughter, just hours before, and the light and twin­kle in her eyes and the spring and dance in her every step for every gesture showered upon her, and most of all, the restful sleep in her mother’s arms after what would have been for her a fulfilling day. This contrast between the experiences of children in different parts of the world made me think of two things. 

Firstly, why is it that men must make war on one another and, first and foremost, cause the little children to suffer for something they know nothing of? And for this, the answer is not inexplicable: the nature of man as the highest form of animal is to domi­nate, in the Darwinian sense of “survival of the fittest”, to maintain dominion over others for his own self-interest and survival at any cost, even at the expense of the children, the latter finding equivalence in some animals consuming their young for their own survival. It is a deep-rooted, psychological compulsion, primordial in character, which only the processes of civilisation can hope to counter. 

The second thought is how my granddaughter and others like her can experience the joys of their innocence in this country, and for this we must be grateful. This little land of ours is blessed in so many ways as with such multifaceted religions and races, and none of the violence and death these bring in other places, and our malls filled with people with no fear of a drone or suicide bomber. 

Even the recent storm that killed so many in the other islands left us with hardly a scratch. Of course, we have our own share of ugliness, attributable in the final analysis to men and women who, in the Darwinian sense, seek “dominion” over others as with killers or child molesters and, worst of all, as with politicians, who exploit the simple-minded to further subdue them. 

But even as men consume themselves in their thirst for domination, let us try to save the children here, in Syria and the rest of the world, in the hope that as children, they will be able to enjoy their innocence and be

the “father of the man”, until they, too, degenerate into becoming “Man”, with the cycle repeating itself. 

Dr Errol Benjamin

via e-mail

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