By Ernie McCray
To me the saddest aspect of what’s going on in the Middle East is that national and world leaders don’t appear to care at a deep level that children are constantly being killed.
For instance Israel continues to fire away at Hezbollah, after having taken the lives of scores of children in Lebanon, and George Bush coldly declares that he doesn’t support a cease fire between these warring forces without a peace plan.
But wouldn’t any cessation of children falling as “collateral damage,” any finger relaxed at the trigger, any missile laid down, any degree of stillness in the air suffice as a peace plan if only for a moment?
My goodness might not one world leader shed or fight back a tear or speak specifically to children being killed left and right every day in Lebanon as they have been in Iraq for years.
Aspiring wreakors of havoc must be lined up in hordes to add their names to Hezbollah’s rolls.
And now, in the madness, we have John McCain declaring that ending the conflict in Iraq would “risk disaster” - as though the whole Shock and Awe Show hasn’t been disastrous from the first bomb dropped to this very day.
Such an attitude regarding the dragged out war in Iraq shows an absolute lack of committment on McCain’s part to valuing and protecting the lives of children. Having been a prisoner of war how can he resist, knowing that his 18 year old son is becoming a marine, getting in his face and screaming: “Are you insane? You’re entertaining semper fi dreams in a world that needs you to use your brain for greater things? Get your butt over there to ASU or somewhere and seek some new ways to help turn this world you’re inheriting around.”
How can he live with the thought that his child could soon be put in a position to killing someone else’s child in a war that never needed to be, a war created by the most heinous of lies. What is it about wars that we just can’t seem to learn from them?
Oh, how are the children of the world to survive if we don’t really care whether or not they live or die? And as to our own children here in the USA, isn’t it about time we planted a few seeds in their fertile minds that can help them find alternatives to our warring ways?
Now regarding the role national and world leaders need to play in cultivating future seekers of peace, Tony Blair, British Prime Minister, of all people, a man who has followed Bush like a wannabe gangster trailing behind a Godfather, is apparently ready to show the way. He expressed some pretty good advice to our shamed nation the other day: “Always be in the lead, always at the forefront, always engaged in building alliances, in reaching out.”
To that I offer a hearty “Hear hear!” Such is what our children need to hear. And this is what they need to see.
They need to see national and world leaders as courageous souls who refuse to engage in war unless it is overwhelmingly obvious that such an approach is absolutely necessary in a given situation.
They need to see national and world leaders as decent human beings who demonstrate that they care for and offer protection for all people be they gay or straight; who seek to ensure good health for everyone; who devote themselves to alternative energies that reduce the dependence on oil controlled by hostile nations; who see to it that everyone, the rich and the poor, pay their fair share in narrowing the gap between the haves and have-nots of the planet.
In essence our children need to see national and world leaders pursuing what should be the theme of the 21st Century: “Saving the Children so They can Save the World.”
Ernie McCay is a retired educator and San Diego resident.