posted February 12, 2001 02:09
One year after bombing Serbia:
Keep NATO out of our life, out of our education
Itís early hours of the morning, and another young child from the former Yugoslavia is found in the border ports in Southern England. Alone, with no parents or guardian, the child cries and whispers Refugee.
It was almost a year ago, when the allied forces in NATO bombed Serbia. A year has gone by. The daily broadcasts on our TV screens, that glamorised the destruction caused by the NATO raids have been archived. Today, behind the smoke screen, the world has seen the suffering of a people who were once living together, and are now torn apart by nationalism, bombing and "independence". A people who are presently roaming around Europe in search of a shelter and a less disturbing future.
The media obliges with the continued war propaganda. Trials of "war criminals" make headlines while the very people who have fled that war zone are portrayed as unwanted asylum seekers. The victims are themselves again the subject of internal dealings and negotiations between the same allied forces to decide which one takes how many refugees, and which government is to be portrayed in their media as the more humane one!
In London alone, it is impossible to go on the underground trains and not be enraged with the plight of children stretching their arms, either alone or with an adult, begging for some loose change. Many from former Yugoslavia, hold out a piece of paper with a scribbled note of "need some food", "havenít eaten for two days", "please help" or something to that effect. Station loud speakers keep alerting the public that "begging is a crime; do not encourage them; donít give them money". Newspapers report that there are gangs, and children are being hired out to begging adults in order to attract compassion. Children, some as young as 18 months old are pulled along busy commuter trains for hours on end. It is impossible not to notice the hatred and tiredness in their faces, as they themselves cannot fathom why they must suffer so excruciatingly.
The Labour government claims that it has taken action: adult beggars are first warned, charged and if found begging again are deported. This action, the government claims, will deter "bogus economic" migrants, and presumably prevent the "damage" to the tourist image of London! In their scenario those young human beings, children, are invisible.
The general public in Britain, however, shares the anger of these children despite all the attempts of the right wing forces. This is the reason why the government has stepped in to justify the war. It has permitted the active promotion of NATO war efforts among children. Once again children have been targeted. Workshops have been set up in the secondary schools by the "Educational Representatives" from the Security Alliance that is based in Brussels.
School children are brought in to these workshops to consider NATOís actions in Kosovo. It is a role play, where children take turns as different leaders, hold "press conferences" and defend their "actions". Parents have been angered by such war mongering propaganda in the schools that have held the workshops.
The campaign of peace groups to seek a "peace platform" in the workshops, though positive, but does not go far enough. It is outrageous that a so-called military force can take its propaganda amongst school children. No child should be subjected to such a cruel psychological abuse. It is clear that school children not only take such workshops seriously, but they also attach an obvious importance to the "educational representatives". This in itself puts pressure on children to accept the NATOís pre-determined objective. This is an act of abuse of children thoughts.
It is not difficult to see how much further pressure these workshops put on any child who opposes the war, and even worse is the case for those refugee children who had personally witnessed the horror of the continuous NATOís raids of last year. The government must not be allowed to subject our children to its war-mongering propaganda.