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Trauma Inflicted on Children in the War on Terror Is Clouding Global Society’s Future

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A mother carries her infant son across the border from Syria in 2013. (S. Rich / UNHCR

  • The loss of childhood, the crippling effects of trauma, the narrative of grief, and the cruel removal of any sense of hope or of a secure future have been seeping into global discourse about children for many years now. Isn’t it time to begin to see their global crisis for what it is: one of the major threats to a stable future for the planet?
  • Related: From the Archives | Chris Hedges: Pity the Children

Karen J. Greenberg, TomDispatch / Truthdig 

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Child_w%3APeace_Banner%20_%26_Dove.jpgJun 17, 2017 | “This is a war against normal life.” So said CNN correspondent Clarissa Ward, describing the situation at this moment in Syria, as well as in other parts of the Middle East. It was one of those remarks that should wake you up to the fact that the regions the United States has, since September 2001, played such a role in destabilizing are indeed in crisis, and that this process isn’t just taking place at the level of failing states and bombed-out cities, but in the most personal way imaginable. It’s devastating for countless individuals—mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, friends, lovers—and above all for children.

Ward’s words caught a reality that grows harsher by the week, and not just in Syria, but in parts of Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya, among other places in the Greater Middle East and Africa. Death and destruction stalk whole populations in Syria and other crumbling countries and failed or failing states across the region.  In one of those statistics that should stagger the imagination, devastated Syria alone accounts for more than five million of the estimated 21 million refugees worldwide. And sadly, these numbers do not reflect an even harsher reality: you only become a “refugee” by crossing a border.  According to the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR), in 2015 there were another 44 million people uprooted from their homes who were, in essence, exiles in their own lands.  Add those numbers together and you have one out of every 113 people on the planet—and those figures, the worst since World War II, may only be growing.

Karen J. Greenberg, a TomDispatch regular, is the director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School. Her latest book is Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State, out in paperback this May. She is also author of The Least Worst Place: Guantánamo’s First 100 Days.  

Rose Sheela and CNS interns Anastasia Bez, Rohini Kurup, and Andrew Reisman contributed research for this article.

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Related: 

From the Archives | Chris Hedges: Pity the Children, Chris Hedges, Truthdig

  • War brings with it a host of horrors, but the worst is what it does to children. The suffering of the young, perpetrated by those who carry weapons, exposes war’s demented pathology. 
  • The Great Human Delusion: All Parents Love their Children

 

 

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