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'Time to stop bombarding kids with conflict stories'

Filed on March 22, 2017
Time to stop bombarding kids with conflict stories
Dr Mukesh Kapila, professor of Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at University of Manchester

(Supplied photo)

Adults today are too damaged themselves to produce long-lasting solutions for children who are suffering.

Children need to be protected against war and conflict tales as they will grow up to be angry and violent, according to a professor who grew up "hating" Pakistan because of the Indo-Pak conflict stories that were repeatedly told to him as a child.

Dr Mukesh Kapila, professor of Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at University of Manchester, who was attending the 14th Dubai International

Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference & Exhibition (DIHAD), also said it could possibly take three generations to recover children from the mental trauma that has been afflicted onto them by conflicts around the world.

According to him, adults today are too damaged themselves to produce long-lasting solutions for children who are suffering.

At the three-day conference, which concludes today, Dr Kapila gave a speech on the importance of giving children the right essentials from the start and in an uninterrupted manner.

He said: "I was told everything, from current Pakistan to current India and all of the terrible things done to our family. So, I grew up as a confused child, hating the other side. Three generations - that's how long it will take to recover, even if the risk of a new conflict remains."

It's for all of these reasons that it becomes vital to examine how well we are doing to help and protect children in conflict and crisis situations.

"The additional reason is that we need to grow healthy - psychically, mentally and emotionally - generations of children as the world is trying to get rid of

the existential crisis and prevent new ones. Only balanced and healthy children will be able to find solutions to problems that elude us.

"Just think about the generation of children incarcerated in the bloody sands of Darfur, the starving children of Yemen and South Sudan or the Afghani and Syrian children who have seen too many brutal and terrible things."

Even if this conflict was to somehow miraculously be solved tomorrow, the legacy will last at least for three generations, the professor said.

Dr Kapila also stated that history teaches us that memories can go on for thousands of years.

"First, are the currently affected children, second the children of these children, who will inherit the trauma of their parents. Third, the grandchildren who will be brought up in the grievance and anger of their grandparents," he said.

sarwat@khaleejtimes.com


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