يا خوفى عليك يا جراحى

abnoudiغاب عنا بالأمس شاعر العامية الكبير عبد الرحمن الأبنودى بعد أن أمتعنا وأحزننا ورفع مرآة المجتمع الفقير أمام أعيننا. هو شاعر الفقراء والمظلومين على مدى عقود طويلة. غاب الرجل القناوى ذو الجلباب الفلاحى- صاحب كلمات أغانى عبد الحليم حافظ وأغانى مقدمات المسلسلات. فالموت لا يهمه من يأخذ ومن يعطى

  الأبنودى هو كاتب رسايل الاسطى حراجى لزوجته فاطنه عبد الغفار وهى من أجمل ما كتب عن الغلابة والفقراء ببساطتهم ولغتهم الى عبر عنها بزجل سهل ممتنع وبيسط كبساطة هؤلاء. هى قصيدة عن الأسرة التى يسافر عائلها للبحث عن لقمة العيش – وكانت فى حالة الزوج جراحى هى السفر للمشاركة فى بناء السد. فأرسل جراحى رسائل لزوجته وهى ترد عليه برسائل أخرى. وبدايتها كالتالى :

الجوهرة المصونه
والدره المكنونه
زوجتنا فاطنه أحمد عبد الغفار
يوصل ويسلم ليها
في منزلنا الكاين في جبلايه الفار
أسوان … الرسالة 1
أما بعد .. لو كنت هاودت كسوفي ع التأخير
سامحيني يا فطنه في طول الغيبه عليكم
وأنا خجلان .. خجلان .. وأقولك يا زوجتنا أنا خجلان منكم
من هنا للصبح
شهرين دلوقت ..
من يوم ما عنيكي يا فاطنه .. بلت شباك القطر
لسوعتي بدمعك ضهر يديَ
لحضتها قلت لك
قبل ما عوصل عتلاقي جوابي جي
نهنهتي .. وقلتي لي بعتاب:
النبي عارفاك كداب .. نساي
وعتنسى أول ما عتنزل في أسوان

عبد الرحمن الأبنودى صاحب ضحكة المساجين بصوته المصرى الأصيل ولكنته الصعيدى  – غابت  يا خال ضحكة المساجين وبقيت ضحكة السجان. سجن أيام عبد الناصر عام 66 بتهمة إنضمامه لحزب شيوعى ولكنه كان الأكثر غضبا عندما كانت السلطة فى يد الإخوان إبان ثورة 25 يناير. فكان فى بداية الثورة مع الشباب وضد نظام مبارك فقال قصيدته الشهرية

ايادي مصرية سمرا ليها في التمييز
ممددة وسط الزئير بتكسر البراويز
سطوع لصوت الجموع شوف مصر تحت الشمس
آن الآوان ترحلي يا دولة العواجيز

وكان كذلك غاضبا من العسكر الذين أتوا بالسلطة فكانت قصيدة ضحكة المساجين والتى كتبها تحيه لعلاء عبد الفتاح وقام بغناءهما بصوته الرائع على الحجار:

الصرخة هادية.. بسّ هازّه الكون
قال الغشيم للوردة: «خبِّى اللون»
إيش يفهم التُّور فى هوا البساتين
ما بيتوبوش.. ولا اللى فات علّمهم
ما بيسمعوش فى الدنيا إلا كلامهم
مالهمش فى حوار النبات والطين.
الشرّ فى طرْف الميدان يِسكر
والفجر يطلع.. تحجبُه العسكر
وانت بتكتب سكَّه للجايّين
نطمِس معالم ثورتك يا شباب
أهو زى صفحة بتتقِطع فى كتاب
والدنيا تهدا ويرجعوا الغايبين.

مات الخال وهو الذى أمتعنا برباعياته أو مربعاته فى جريدة التحرير على مدى أشهر الثورة الأولى وحتى ثورة 30 يونيو – وتعتبر المربعات تأريخا نفسيا لتلك الفترة – فمنها على سبيل المثال

بحر السياسة غويط.. ماكر
أما اللي فوق البر شديد
زي اللي بيبيعوا تذاكر
وعمرهم.. ماسافروا بعيد!!

وكتب مثلا يقول:

هوَّه بْإيدين عارْية حَمَى الثورة
وحَطّ رُوحُه جوّه حَنَك الديب
وانت اللى جيت له ضيف على الفكرة
دلوقت جاىْ تِتِّهمُه بالتخريب!!

وكتب ينعى تسليم العسكر الحكم للإسلاميين

رِجِع القَلْب المِضَلِّم
لِلِعْبُه.. بْتاعْ زَمَان
التَّعْلَب اللّى سَلِّم
الحُكْم.. للإخوان

وكانت كل مربعات الأبنودى تعبيرا عميقا فى أربعة أسطر كالرباعيات عن الأحوال التى آلت إليها الثورة والتى كانت تؤرقه فقال بعد أحداث ماسبيرو  ((أعلنت حالة الصمت الشعرى منذ أحداث ماسبيرو.. وسأعود لمّا نكون أنا ومصر متفاهمين ع الآخر))

ثم عاد ليكتب بعد صعود الإخوان للحكم:

يادى البلاد اللى كانت حلمنا الزاهى
ومبعث الفخر لينا ف كافة الأوطان
إحنا انسخطنا كإن السخطة دى إلهى
مع إنها جاية شايلة يافطة الأديان

وكتب أيضا

لؤَما.. وقُلالاَتْ دين
فى الكدب غَمَسُوا العِلْم
مُمثِّلين…. تافهين
يوقَّعُوا مِيتْ فيلم

ومن بين ما كتب عن مرسى شخصيا  على سبيل المثال تعبيرا عن السخط الشعبى على الرئيس الذى بحسب الكلام العامى المصرى “مش ملو هدومه”:

نِفسِى اقابله دا اللى إداله دكتوراه
واسأَلُه:قول لى بأمانة يا عزيزى
هل كتَب (دَا) أى موضوع فى الحياة؟
وهل صحيح-يومها-كتب بالإنجليزى

ومن أهم ما كتب فى الإخوان هو رسالة إلى كهنة الإخوان  فكتب يقول

الوداع يا صوتي ما عدتش أصيل
الوداع يا قلبي مانتاش قلب نيل
الوداع يا طين بلادي يا مش جميل
يا صعيد البس ثياب عارك وعدد
شاعرك الاسمر مخبي في صوته مرشد
شاعرك أهو شال رايات الأغبيا
انهزم خان الأمانة وجي يغني لأغنيا
شاعرك جاهل ونفعي وابن
الوداع المر بينا يا رفيق

 ثم ما لبث أن كتب حول حرق الإخوان للكنائس فى مصر

ولعتها يا بجم يااهبل ياابوبقين
فاكر بحرق الكنِيسة حيرتفع شانك؟
توأم لصيق مستحيل حنِقسم نصِين
يا اللى الشيطان اتكسف من فعل شيطانك

وعاد الأبنودى بعد أن قامت ثورة 30 يونيو  وأزيل غم الإخوان

نْيابِ الدِّيابَة
وِنَهَمْ الوُحُوش
يَسْقُط حُكْم الكَآبة
وعَكَار الوُشُوشْ

وعاد يؤكد وهو ينعى ما يحدث فى سوريا ويؤيد ما يحدث فى مصر ليقول

كل اللِى شفناه ياسوريا وصابنابالحِيرة
طلع كلام زوربيتكررهنا فِى مصر
بلاوِى سى إن إن السودا وجزيرة
شفناه ودقناه مع القتلة ف مدِينة نصر

ثم كتب يقول مؤيدا للجيش: :

كنا فى رمضان يوم ما عبر الجيش وحققها
ولادها شياطين لكين القلب إنسانِى
كمافى 30 يونيه قامت كسرت طوقها
وِجرت الخونة للقفص الحديد تانى

وفى آخر مربع كتبه ونشر أيضا فى جريدة التحرير, كتب الخال قبل وفاته منتقدا عدم وجود أحزاب وبرلمان:

ما عادش غيرى حزب..
وادى العباد فى القرى بتخترع ميادين..
الناس بقت من بعيد خبرا فى شم الكذب
عاوزين تصالحوا دما الأمة على السكين

 – طمئنا عليك يا جراحى يا خال.. زوجتك فاطنة مستنياك ومستنية تسمع أخبارك:

إحنا ما يلزمناش .. أكتر من ورقه في ظرف ..
ناس الجبلايه كبيراً وصغيراً عاوزين رؤياك
قوللي يا حراجي بحق ..
عامل كيف بس ف ليل الفرقه .. ؟
واللهي ما خش دماغي حاجه من اللي كاتبه في الورقه ..
ويا خوفي عليك ..
بيقولوا فيه ناس .. ماتوا في اللي إسمه السد ..
طمنا عليك يا حراجي

بس جراحى ما ردش على الجوابات عشان جراحى مات. وداعا الأبنودى الخال – شكرا على شعر     أمتعتنا به وهو الباقى لأجيال قادمة. كيف تطلب منا أن نتذكرك ولا ننساك وأنت الذى لم تنسانا؟

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Christian Ethiopians beheaded in Libya

Christian Ethiopians beheaded in Libya

Once again we see beautiful young men walking to their deaths. Today ISIL killed 28 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya – some shot dead and at least 11 slaughtered like sheep – all because they refused to either pay the gizya or convert to Islam. A man in the video says the men were crusaders, “worshippers of the cross belonging to the hostile Ethiopian church”.

Then comes the walk on the sand by the beautiful shoreline, men in orange jumpsuits each accompanied by a ‘shadow’ – a dark entity appropriately covered in black with cowardly faces hidden – for “let not light see [their] black and deep desires”. The pain of watching them could not ethiopian2be anywhere near the fear they must have felt in their hearts as they faced their cowardly murderers who shot them and slaughtered them from the backs of their heads. Could they not look their victims in the eyes? Could they not see the humanity and dignity of the dehumanized “other”? Could they not feel compassion for their families? for they are sons, brothers and fathers too.

The video is 29 minutes long – as usual skillfully filmed like a real-life movie. It zooms in from a Libyan map to the captives in the southern area of Libya and shows them being shot to death and zooms in on the the captives in the east being beheaded on a beach. [another video link] The first group was in Southern Province Fazzan, and the second in the east of Libya called Barka Province. The video also shows the destruction of churches in Libya as well as the destruction of Christian iconography.

The US expressed ‘anger’ over the murder – and yet it was the US that stood staunchly with the EU against Egypt’s airstrikes over Libya. They said they wanted to ensure ‘dialogue’ between the warring factions. In fact they stated “This atrocity once again underscores the urgent need for a political resolution to the conflict in Libya to empower a unified Libyan rejection of terrorist groups.” It is a good cause for sure – but has its limitations. After the destruction of Libya, limited directed strikes would have been quite useful.  It’s what the US is doing in Iraq and Syria – isn’t it?

In any case.. this is no time for finger-pointing but a time for mourning. It is also no time for justification of the terrorism nor of being an apologist. This massacre is a new addition to ISIL’s list of crimes and atrocities. Yet ISIL is not unique in its murders. It has happened before throughout history and will happen again not only by ISIL, but by all sorts of people – Western, Eastern, Muslim, Christian, and any other. Some die for their beliefs – others kill for the same, both believing they are doing the will of God.

When Macbeth killed his friend the King in order to replace him, he wondered if there was a way back – a way to enable him to retract his evil deed..but he realized he had gone too far into the depth of evil:

I am in blood
Stepp’d in so far that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o’er

There is no return, and the only solution is to kill more people, and more people – perhaps to numb any conscience if there remains any – but the more they kill, the worse their mental state becomes. Macbeth was haunted by the ghosts of the people he murdered and lamented

the times have been,
That, when the brains were out, the man would die,
And there an end, but now they rise again,
With twenty mortal murders on their crowns,
And push us from our stools: this is more strange
Than such a murder is.

Those they innocently killed will haunt them until their deaths by the very same guns and swords that they killed with.

It is only a belief in poetic justice.

Condolences to the Ethiopian people and the Ethiopian Church.


Photos of the Libya massacre and destruction of Churches

ideas have wings…

One of the great attractions of patriotism – it fulfills our worst wishes. In the person of our nation we are able, vicariously, to bully and cheat. Bully and cheat, what’s more, with a feeling that we are profoundly virtuous – A. Huxley

Two decisions over the past few weeks made me wonder who on earth makes decisions in Egypt. The problem is that the decisions are made out of so-called ‘patriotism’ and nationalism rather than though a rational and well thought-out decision-making process. Patriotism is a noble idea that is usually taken to extremes. Also known as jingoism, it exalts a nation or a race or a people over all other and dehumanizes the other hence it becomes aggressive and violent. Blind patriotism is a kind of devotion to one’s country which can do no wrong or perpetrate any evil – it is all good, benign and well-intentioned. The KKK, McCarthyism and others are considered ‘patriotic’ and ‘nationalistic’. Hitler’s followers were all patriotic nationalists. A quote wrongly attributed to Sinclair Lewis but pertinent nevertheless states that “When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and waving a cross.” This is the nature of fascism anywhere.. wrapped in the flag and waving ‘religion’ – no matter which. In the two examples below, the misguided and over-zealous patriotism of the ‘decision-makers’ has led to unintended but expected consequences: them being ridiculed and the decisions – thankfully – eventually reversed.

The first is the decision to issue visas only to groups and not to individuals visiting Egypt. Imagine a country saying you cannot have an individual visa but you must be in a group only. The absurdity of the decision could not surpass the suddenness of it. Because it was made without prior notification to anybody, the decision caused confusion among tourists and customs alike. It also caused alarm in the tourism industry. As the limping tourism industry tries to regain some of its previous tourists, this decision dealt a heavy blow to the entire sector for several weeks. Finally, a security sources told Reuters that the decision stemmed from the “need to strengthen control on Western human rights activists’ visits to Egypt.” A reason by far worse than the decision itself.

Finally someone was brave enough to suspend the decision temporarily. The decision was obviously made without any regard to its impact on anything beyond the narrow circle of ‘human rights activists’ because it was made through a security-based lens [if we even consider them a security threat in the first place!].

holding flags

Holding flags during book-burning

The second is the burning of books in the courtyard of a school in Cairo. The Fadl “Modern” School in Giza was witness to the book burning party that a Ministry of Education director decided was an appropriate way of dispensing of books that it said ‘incited hatred and encouraged radicalism.’  Initially, the Ministry condoned this act and said that burning of the books as necessary to fight the “incitement of terrorism, sectarianism and more.” Additionally, the Director of the Office of the Minister of Education had informed others in the Ministry of the time and date of the burning prior to it happening [link]. However the Minister himself said he did not approve any such measure and asked for an investigation and prosecution of those responsible.

the joys of a bonfire: waving flags and singing patriotic songs..

the joys of a bonfire: waving flags and singing patriotic songs..

What is truly absurd and almost out of a dark comedy book, is that as the books burnt and the children looked on, the Ministry’s representative and a group of teachers gathered around the bonfire holding the Egyptian flags and waving them and singing patriotic songs. The image of them singing and waving flags could not be funnier to my mind.

But here is what’s truly disturbing: while the representative and the bonfire party claim the books were Ikhwan-related books, upon closer investigation into the book list, I discovered that this is not so.

Sheikh Ali Abdel Raziq

Sheikh Ali Abdel Raziq

Among the books is one that was banned when it first came out in 1925 after causing an uproar because it’s author, the notable Sheikh Ali Abdel Raziq, was arguing against the Caliphate system. At that time, the Minister of Justice resigned his post in order to stand by Sheikh Abdel Raziq. Also among the books burnt was a book by renowned and well-respected legal scholar Abdel Raziq al Sanhoori, considered the ‘father’ of Egyptian law.

Naturally, among the books are also books written by radicals that needed to be removed from school libraries. However burning the books is hardly the correct method of ‘getting rid’ of unwanted books.

How is that different from ISIL burning manuscripts and books from the Mosul Museum? How is it different from all the book-burnings in history – among them the Great Library of Alexandria burnt at least three times because every invader who passed by Egypt saw it as heretical to their beliefs? As the Daily Beast wrote:

Although religion is far from the only motive for book burnings, a belief in the supernatural often is what fans the flames. In 168 BC, Antiochus IV ordered Jewish books in Jerusalem be “rent to pieces” and burned. The Emperor Constantine ordered the burning of works by those who disputed the Trinity. The Christian Emperor Jovian burned the library of Antioch in 364 AD, because it had been stocked largely by Emperor Julian who was non-Christian; and in 392 AD, the library at Alexandria was looted and burned by Christian mobs and the woman philosopher Hypatia murdered.

But who learns from history?

The Arab/Spanish-Andalusian philosopher Averroes [Ibn Rushd] fell out of favor with the ruling authorities at the end of the 12th Century, and his writings were ordered to be burnt. As he watched the bonfire, he told one of his students who was weeping, “Today I cry over our situation . . . but the ideas have wings.”

history is bunk.. history..is.. bunk

“Accompanied by a campaign against the Past; by the closing of museums, the blowing up of historical monuments (luckily most of them had already been destroyed during the Nine Years’ War); by the suppression of all books published before A.F. 15O… All crosses had their tops cut and became T’s. There was also a thing called God.”

No, it’s not the dreaded Islamic State also known as ISIS or ISIL. This is His Fordship the Controller Mustapha Mond, in Aldous Huxley’s prophetic dystopian novel Brave New World. Mond was  explaining the foundation of that new world to a group of attentive students. Destroying the past is imperative because the past, our history, reminds us of who we were in the past and shows us who we are in the present. History helps us learn from our mistakes, tells us of our glories and points to our horrors. It encourages us to make better choices for the future. Civilization is built on the history of peoples. We are descendants and outcomes of our civilization. History encourages us to think critically of our present and to ask questions about how to make the future a better place. It inspires us – tells us of people of moral courage and people who made moral decisions in spite of adversity and persecution. It also tells us of others who have made evil choices. It shows us people who have motivated others to rise against tyranny and to seek freedoms  and warns us of people who have chosen to oppress and enslave others. Think Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Galileo, Thomas Moore, Joan of Arc, Che Givara, Omar al Mukhtar, Jameela Bu Hreid and thousands of others in all fields of life, fighting for selfless causes. Think people who took the greatest care to record their lives and times, with meticulous inscriptions and drawings on walls and exquisite sculptures that narrate stories of national glory or of grand and fervent religious beliefs. Think the Mayans, the Pharaohs, the Assyrians.

A hatred of history, therefore, is nothing short of a hatred of self and an unwillingness to go outside oneself to attempt to learn about oneself and others. But, as Huxley said: “That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.

And then comes ISIL. The destructive force of ISIL has most certainly taken many people by surprise – blowing up monuments, sculptures, even entire cities that had any historical significance. It blew up churches and mosques – bulldozed entire cities and destroyed even the graves of the dead.

Note the destruction targeting particular histories – the Assyrians, the Yazidis, the Shiaas. The deliberateness of the destruction and the publication of such destruction on the Internet as a propaganda tool poses a real threat to these communities. As the UNESCO director stated, ISIL is “using the destruction of heritage as a terror strategy to destabilize and manipulate people, to ensure domination.” Between destroying monuments and selling others as money-making loot, an entire history of a great civilization is being wiped out – particularly the Assyrians.

The rationale ISIL gives for such destruction is found in one of its videos:

“These antiquities and idols behind me were from people in past centuries and were worshiped instead of God. When God Almighty orders us to destroy these statues, idols and antiquities, we must do it, even if they’re worth billions of dollars.” [cnn translation]

History does not matter. History is an idol that needs to be destroyed – especially if it was created by ‘infidels’. History is bunk. We have no identity. It is a cultural genocide eliminating our very memories.

One of my Iraqi friends, a photographer and journalist, who was forced out of his home in Mosul, told me how they burnt his home with all the family pictures and other pictures he cherished. One can never bring those back. They are not only memories.. they are history.. they are what forms his identity.

The Ford, the near-deity of brave new world says it simply: ‘history is bunk’ –

He waved his hand; and it was as though, with an invisible feather wisk, he had brushed away a little dust, and the dust was Harappa, was Ur of the Chaldees; some spider-webs, and they were Thebes and Babylon and Cnossos and Mycenae. Whisk. Whisk – and where was Odysseus, where was Job, where were Jupiter and Gotama and Jesus? Whisk – and those specks of antique dirt called Athens and Rome, Jerusalem and the Middle Kingdom – all were gone. Whisk – the place where Italy had been was empty. Whisk, the cathedrals; whisk, whisk, King Lear and the Thoughts of Pascal. Whisk, Passion; whisk, Requiem; whisk, Symphony; whisk

Whisk… indeed.. history is bunk. While we sit and watch the destruction of a part of our civilization in total impotence and horror, we are depriving our children and grand children from understanding their own history and past. We will tell them, as the Ford told his guests, that once upon a time, as in a fairy tale, there was “something called the pyramids.. and a man called Shakespeare.”

__________________

March and February 2015  witnessed the worst destruction – but it had started a year earlier, whenever ISIL set foot in any city. Here is a non-comprehensive list:

your children are not your children…

Syrian children tell the world “stand with me” – but no one is really listening. In a report written through the voices of the children of Syria in March 2014, they said they wanted the war to end, peace restored, and wanted all parties to talk to each other because they are tired and wanted to go back home. But the situation is grim and there seems to be no end in sight.

Unicef reports show that in Syria alone, up to a million children are trapped in areas that are under siege or that are hard to reach with humanitarian assistance due to continued violence. The report states that “Today, [those children] are living through the most damaging conflict for children in the region’s recent history. More than 5.5 million Syrian children now see their future besieged by war.”

In addition, children living in refugee camps fare no better: “One in 10 children – over 1.2 million – have fled the country to become refugees in neighbouring countries. And these numbers are rising every day. By the end of January 2014, 37,498 Syrian children had been born as refugees.” Children have also been targets of sniper attacks and others have sustained life-threatening and life-altering injuries. Worse still, at least 8,000 children have arrived at Syria’s borders without their parents.

Boys have been recruited to fight and kill even in the most brutal fashion. In addition, according to a recent UN report “children as young as 11 are being detained with adults. In some cases, they are being subjected to torture and sexual abuse to humiliate them, force confessions, or pressure relatives to surrender.” By 2012, Human Rights Watch reported that at least 3,873 schools throughout the country had been damaged, 450 of which were entirely destroyed and will need complete reconstruction.

Horrifying images have shown that this is a war that claims even the unborn: an X-ray image on one such foetus shows it dead with a bullet lodged in its skull. Both the baby and its mother were killed by a sniper in Aleppo in September 2013.

Human Rights Watch also documented the experiences of 25 children and former child soldiers in Syria’s armed conflict. Their horrifying stories keep coming up. Children have been drawing too. A project called Coloring my future shows war-laden drawings made by Syrian children.

Statistics:

Here are some UN statistics: in total, 5.5 m children are in need of humanitarian assistance; 4.3 of those are inside Syria and 1.2 are refugees. 10 thousand lost their lives in the conflict; 37,480 babies born as refugees; and nearly 3 million are out of school.

Beyond the statistics:

Huda

The now iconic image of Huda from Camp Atma on the Syrian/Turkish border, raising her hand in surrender.

“Traumatized” cannot begin to express what these children have gone through and are going through. When a child raises her hands in terror and ‘surrender’ because a photographer has pointed a camera at her, this is beyond trauma.

The image of Huda, a 2-4 year old child, raising her hand in surrender at Camp Atma because a photographer aimed his camera at her is one of the most heart-wrenching the world has seen.

little girl

Little Syrian child at a Jordanian refugee camp raises hand in surrender and burst into tears as camera pointed at her – image taken by Red Cross employee

Neither is it unique. Another image surfaced of a child in a Jordanian camp whose image was taken by a Red Cross employee who hadn’t noticed the terror and tears of the child as she raised her hands in surrender as she pointed her camera at her.

Syrian children recruited by ISIL

Syrian children recruited by ISIL

But the trauma extends beyond that. ISIL has recruited at least 400 children in the past three months, according to the Syrian Observatory, calling them the ‘Cubs of the Caliphate’. Shocking images and videos of these child recruits are circulating the web, mostly posted by ISIL-related sites showing off their power and reach.

Child in Raqqa, recruited by ISIL

Child in Raqqa, recruited by ISIL

Children have habitually been taught about burnings and beheadings in their ISIL-run training schools. It is no surprise therefore that one child in Raqaa, no older than 8 years, was shown in a video watching a large screen video on the street displaying the burning of Moaz al-Kasasbeh, the Jordanian pilot. He gleefully stated that he would have ‘burnt him himself’.

Child identified as Abdullah is executing 2 allegedly Russian spies.

Child identified as Abdullah is executing 2 allegedly Russian spies.

Another video also released by ISIL, shows a child executing two allegedly ‘Russian spies’. The boy has been identified as just Abdullah. Similarly, in 2014, we were horrified when a father tweeted a picture of his young Australian son holding a severed head, saying proudly: “that’s my boy“.

All this, of course, is not to mention the online recruitment of ‘foreign’ children as brides or kidnapping of children and women as slaves.

Training camps:

4 year old firing an AK 47 in Syria

4 year old firing an AK 47 in Syria

What are these children learning in those ‘training’ camps? ISIL has not been shy about its propaganda regarding what it teaches. It has posted videos showing the ‘tough’ training and the eventual brainwashing of the children. Children as young as five are attending such camps. Among their released videos is one of a 5 year old “junior jihadist” firing an AK 47 in Syria. ISIL also released a 9-minute propaganda video showing children being trained.

Baby's father makes her step on the severed head of a Syrian soldier

Baby’s father makes her step on the severed head of a Syrian soldier

The grim future:

Between a 4 year old who is traumatized when she sees a camera, and a 5 year old firing an AK47, the children of Syria have been psychologically and emotionally damaged. Who will bear that cost? Who is responsible? How will they be rehabilitated? and for how long? Civilization has failed them. The international community has failed them. We, individually, have failed them. Each one of us. We wake up every morning, go to work, love, dream, sleep, eat, meet friends.. but we have forgotten the children. This is happening somewhere else.. in some far away land. We don’t know it and don’t know the children. They mean very little beyond their images and some sensational stories in the media.

Khalil Gibran once wrote:

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They came through you but not from you and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

What have we done to ‘Life’s longing for itself’? We perverted it to the extent that we do not recognize any more that our children are not our children. They have been taken from us – and from life as it should be. Can things seen be ‘unseen’? how does one repair a broken soul and tarnished memory? What will be the future of all those innocent children who are of us but who ‘belong not to’ us?

Photo Album:

Pictures I took December 2013 of Camp Atma, on the Syrian/Turkish border.

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