In any war or occupation where there is a refugee crisis, children are deeply affected. They, like their parents, often flee their homes with nothing but the clothes they are wearing, they lose their childhood friends, schools, familiar routines. They often face poverty. They often end up homeless.
And being in a war zones is also deeply traumatic for children. They see and hear things that will forever scar their minds, and they have little resources to deal with the impact of all the horror on their lives.
About 70% of primary school students in a
…… The study was conducted last October in the Sha'ab district of northern
The next story tells of the games the Iraqi children play, imaginary games where they re-enact the horror they see around them daily.
"The Mahdi army," the driver said. "Wrong answer," shouted the sentry, almost gleefully. "Get him!" The high metal gate of a nearby house was flung open and four gun-toting males rushed out. They dragged the driver from his vehicle and held a knife to his neck. Quickly and efficiently, the blade was run from ear to ear. "Now you're dead," said a triumphant voice, and their captive crumpled to the ground.
Then a moment of stillness before the sound of a woman's voice. "Come inside boys! Your dinner is ready!" The gunmen groaned; the hapless driver picked himself up and trundled his yellow plastic car into the front yard; the toy guns and knives were tossed by the back door. Their murderous game of make-believe would have to resume in the morning.
The article goes on to describe the behavior symptoms these children of war show – bullying, bed wetting, nightmares, stuttering, withdrawal, muteness, panic attacks, and violence. The mental and emotional scars are extensive, and often invisible. And, in
In a rare study published last week, the Association of Iraqi Psychologists (API) said the violence had affected millions of children, raising serious concerns for future generations. It urged the international community to help establish child psychology units and mental health programmes. "Children in
Of course, they don’t always play games of war. Sometimes they are recruited into being militants. I wrote a post on that earlier, but the following report from 2006 talks about the psychological trauma the child militants are facing.
…. According to the NGO, at least 15 children have been used by insurgents and five are in therapy with the NGO for psychological problems. IAA added that there were many more cases of children participating in the insurgency, especially in the western Anbar province. Ten-year-old Mustafa Ibrahim is one such child. He said he has hated US troops since his parents were killed by them in May 2004 as they fled a battle in Fallujah city. “I do not have anyone for me in this world and I want to meet my family in heaven by revenging their death because God will compensate me for this,” he said.
I sure can’t say that I blame him. If I was a child in that same situation, I think I might join up with the resistance as soon as I was able. I have no information on what happened to that child.
Iraqi refugees to
Iraqi refugees in
…… According to the figures, 77 percent of respondents had been affected by air bombardments, shelling or rocket attacks, 80 percent had witnessed a shooting, 68 percent had undergone interrogation or harassment by militias, and 75 percent knew someone close to them who had been killed.
The following story is about Iraqi refugees in
Iraqi refugees, she said, had a higher rate of medical problems compared to other refugee populations, such as the Sudanese and Somalis. Iraqi children also had health problems unique to their population, which Ahlam believed were attributable to radioactive waste left over from
….. Psychiatric problems are also a growing cause for alarm within the Iraqi population in
Iraqi children sometimes end up in Iraqi-run or US-run prisons. This is a horrifying and very traumatic event for the child. Here is the story of one such child.
He isn’t a criminal, but just the sight of a police officer terrifies 14-year-old Omar. The boy was released last month from an Iraqi prison, after being detained there for more than seven months. “They arrested me because they said I was a suspect after a car bomb exploded in a road near my home and resulted in the killing of an American,” Omar explains. He happened to be near the explosion and was arrested along with adult Iraqis suspected of the attack.
….. Omar said the experience of being in prison was terrifying, “and I was crying day and night for my family.” The trauma of the experience remains with him: “I would rather die than go there again.”
Children also end up in US-run prisons in
"American guards videotaped Iraqi male prisoners raping young boys but took no action to stop the offenses (and) children in Abu Ghraib were deliberately frightened by dogs," writes political scientist Michael Haas in his new book, "George W. Bush, War Criminal?" (Praeger), a question he answers in the affirmative.
On the night of April 4, 2003, Ali Kathem, his wife Rasmiyeh and their seven children grew increasingly anxious as bombs dropped all around their civilian neighbourhood. When the windows in their home exploded, Ali loaded his family into his small taxi and made the perilous choice, in the middle of the night, to move his children to his mother's home across town. A bomb shredded the family's vehicle, burning most of its precious cargo alive. Before she succumbed to her injuries, Rasmiyeh, the devoted mother, was able to throw her youngest child, a three-month-old girl named Hawra, from the inferno. The infant was the only one to emerge unscathed. Zhara, Hawra's three-year-old sister, also survived and was transported to one of
…... When Jaber finally found Zhara, the little girl was covered in bandages and wrestling with septicemia. Lying in her hospital bed while doctors struggled to provide her with even the most rudimentary care, Zhara whimpered in a half-sleep for her deceased mother. "Cover me up Mama ... I'm cold," the little girl pleaded.
A story of trauma to an Afghan child.
I don't know their names, I don't even know their age. They weren't in condition to talk. They are five "presumed Taliban" arrived on Tuesday to the Emergency hospital in Lashkargah, placed in south
The three remaining ones are kuchi children, the nomads of
And a photo of a child with those injuries is above. Photo is by Maso Notarianni at the
And a reprint from a post done the other day on vicious injuries: A little girl in
Guljumma talked about what happened one morning last year when she was sleeping at home in southern
…… The destructiveness of this war is reality for Guljumma and her father. And for hundreds of families at Helmand Refugee Camp District 5. And, in fact, for millions of Afghan people. The violence of this war - military, economic and social - keeps destroying the future. Every day and night.
Not a damn thing has been done to help her. You can see her photo here.
Photo: Guljumma, seven years old, with her father Wakil Tawos Khan, at the Helmand Refugee Camp District 5 in
Some Iraqi children have undoubtedly been sold into prostitution, particularly among the refugees of
The situation is
Wealthy former warlords in Baghlan, a
And this story is from July, 2009.
The police in the province, who are linked to the local warlord, have committed systematic abuses against the population, including the abduction and rape of pre-teen boys, according to village elders who met with British officers. Anger over those police abuses runs so high that the elders in Babaji just north of Laskgar Gah warned the British that they would support the Taliban to get rid of them if the national police were allowed to return to the area, according to a Jul. 12 report by Reuters correspondent Peter Graff.
But recovery is possible. Salee and her sister Rusul were severely injured in a
If you support the continued occupation of
Neba tells her story
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