A child could barely comprehend what being disadvantaged means and how it feels? But who else than us, the adults, would know about it.
Majid Majidi is an Iranian filmmaker, and he is one of my favorites. He gave us movies like Children in Heaven, Songs of Sparrow, Baran, Barefoot to Herat Colors Of Paradise, etc.
His movies were based mainly on children and their lives. Mostly on their happiness despite the misery. And, not a single film from the above row failed to pinch my heart to shed tears.
Somehow and somewhere after watching his movies, my interest started growing in understanding the lives of many children who do not have a future today.
I am talking about those children in refugee camps and war zones. I am sure many of you have read the book “The Kite Runner” or watched the movie; if not, you should.
Refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, Israel and Palestinian, Bangladesh, and Sudan share the same fate. However, we know the international community is doing its best to make them feel safe and at home again. But is it possible to withdraw oneself from that concussion and get back to a normal life?
The Plight Of The Deprived
Nearly half of all refugees are children, and almost one in three children living outside their country of birth is a refugee. Millions of children today are fighting their fate. They were driven from their homes by conflict and war, poverty, or climate change to find shelter and begin a new life.
And, in that journey, many encounter danger, detention, deprivation, discrimination, and even assaults.
The suffering and exclusion of migrant and displaced children get worse. They face the brutality of forcible displacement within their camps, including health risks, disease outbreaks and health and psychological trauma, insufficient access to water and sanitation, nutritional food, and routine vaccinations.
Zaina took a framed photograph of her late father when she fled Syria for the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. “I wanted to bring this with me when I came here, and it was hanging on the wall. I saw my mother putting stuff together, so I ran to the photo, took it off the wall, and put it in her bag,” All Zaina has is the memories of all the toys her father gave her.”
Have you ever come across the thought that things were better when we were kids? Pretty sure you must have. Well, I do.
While going to work, I pass the street where there is a school. The sweet chaos, giggling, and the bell for the morning prayer often end me thinking about those kids who are deprived of it. Well, it’s always pleasing to see those happy and curious faces in the morning and parents waving goodbye. It also reminds me of my childhood days.
But, the stories of many cities often dwell on a darker side. Capernaum is a 2018 Lebanese drama film directed by Nadine Labaki and produced by Khaled Mouzanar.
The story goes like this: Zain El Hajj, a 12-year-old from the slums of Beirut, serves a five-year prison sentence in Roumieh Prison for stabbing someone. Neither Zain nor his parents knew his actual date of birth. Zain was brought before a court to have decided civil action against his parents, his mother, Souad, and his father, Selim. He also contacts the media and says he is tired of parents overlooking their children and plans to sue his parents for continuing to have children when they cannot take care of them.
When the judge asks why he wants to sue his parents, Zain answers, “Because I was born.”
Last night, I saw a couple in the restaurant with two kids. Both of them were handed phones while their parents were enjoying their scrumptious continental dinner. Saw their shopping bags near their table with the brand labels.
Well, how blessed they are. But, my mind kept wandering around the lives of those children in misery.
[Headline Image: UNICEF/UN0185401/Sanadiki]
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