k7MRX7k(Photographed by Osman Sağırlı in Syria, 2012)

A four year old child, barely knows how to tie his shoes and loves to play; his home is his world and his toys his best friends; his mother is his love and his father his hero. Until. Until, one day, he suddenly becomes aware of death, doom, pain, agony, hatred, war, suffering, loss and all fears that he never knew existed. Until one day, everything he loves and adores is suddenly snatched from him and he is thrown into war, his toys pierced with bullets, his home burned to ashes, his mother killed by a missile and his father sent to prison for no reason.

What is he supposed to do? How is he expected to comprehend all that has happened? How is he to be explained that his life has been devastated? Does he even know the meaning of war? Or rather, should he? Does a child deserve all this? Why should children have to suffer on account of things that they cannot even comprehend? Why are wars so ugly?

This picture of a little girl was taken in Syria in 2012 and she posed this way because she thought of the camera as a gun about to strike him and therefore surrendered. She had lost her father in the Hama bombing and come to a refugee camp.

The very thought that this girl took the camera to be a gun and hence gave in is very disturbing. The innocent child who was to play and learn in this age, has suffered so much that she knows fighting back is not an option. She knows that sometimes all one can do is concede. It also makes me wonder if the girl thought that it was better to die with dignity, without crying or kicking, satnding face to face with the killer and just taking the bullet?

This was one child, there are millions others all around the world- Afganistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Africa, Palestine; where children have long lost their childhood. I am reminde of a phrase m favourite author Khaled Hosseini wrote in one of his books: “There are lot of children in Afganistan, but litttle childhood”. Apparently this sentence sums up everything I wish to say about all countries under war. The children of those war-hit countries are exposed to so much trauma and turmoil, that they grow older than their age. They are forced to suffer at an age when they should learn to spell the word. Their lives are left dangling in midair, forlorn and forsaken.

The question I wish to ask here is : do children deserve such childhood?

What are going to do about it? Are we going to leave them be and let them die? Was this the future we promised them? Was this the life we would have agreed to ourselves? Would we want a similar life for our children? Do we, anymore, deserve children?