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War Scars: Children of the World Are Our Children too

Emeritus Prof of pediatrics Robert Saul, MD writes about the scars war leaves on children. When we cannot see our common humanity, he writes, then I dare say we have lost our own humanity.

The musical Miss Saigon is a haunting reminder of the horrors of war and the social conflicts off the battlefield that adversely affect so many people.

One of the most heart-rending songs from Miss Saigon is called “Bui Doi,” referring to the children left behind after war, the American-Asian children fathered by American soldiers, the children often nobody wants.  The term Bui Doi is Vietnamese for “the dust of life.”  The brief lyrics to this ballad are as follows:

 

                                    They’re called Bui Doi

                                    The Dust of Life,

                                    Conceived in Hell

                                    And born in strife.

                                    They are the living reminders of

                                     all the good we failed to do

                                    We can’t forget

                                    We must not forget

                                    That they are all

                                    Our children too.

 

Having seen Miss Saigon twice now (the second time 26 years after the initial viewing), I am again reminded of how children, innocent children, are the victims of the inhumanity of adults.

Indeed, we tend to treat children as the Dust of Life (the collateral damage) in the battles of politicians and world leaders.

Dust is easily brushed aside, but it is never really gone.

These children were often conceived following transient carnal pleasure in the hellscape of brutal conflict.

They were born in the midst of strife that leaves permanent scars in its participants and bystanders.

 

Having seen Miss Saigon twice now (the second time 26 years after the initial viewing), I am again reminded of how children, innocent children, are the victims of the inhumanity of adults. Click To Tweet

 

The aftermath of these wars (these innocent children) are almost literally the sawdust after a “deforestation” of societies.

It is often said that in a war that one side is the good guys and the other side is the bad guys, but this distinction is imperceptible to these children and their mothers.

In the aftermath of the battles and when the warring parties have concluded their combat, these children are too often left to fend for themselves, traumatized and cast aside.

Brushed aside to scatter to the wind.

 

It is often said that in a war that one side is the good guys and the other side is the bad guys, but this distinction is imperceptible to these children and their mothers. Click To Tweet

 

Unfortunately, all wars leave such scars on society, and not always by illegitimacy.

Children suffer from the innocent death of siblings and parents in war.

Even “smart” bombs cannot prevent the inevitable loss of innocent lives.  Whether those lives are in New York City (World Trade Center), Iraq, Palestine, Israel, Sudan, Rwanda, or Ukraine, children will always suffer.

 

Even “smart” bombs cannot prevent the inevitable loss of innocent lives. Whether those lives are in New York City (World Trade Center), Iraq, Palestine, Israel, Sudan, Rwanda, or Ukraine, children will always suffer. Click To Tweet

 

Children also suffer from fearmongering and/or the blatant witlessness of our leaders for not recognizing their desperate situation.

We have certainly seen this with folks in Central America searching for some relief from drought and famine and violence.

Families that are seeking a better life should not just be labeled as a horde or a caravan but assisted to lawfully seek a reasonable solution to a better life.

 

Children also suffer from fearmongering and/or the blatant witlessness of our leaders for not recognizing their desperate situation.

 

We should be looking for ways to alleviate pain and suffering and to elevate all of our children to a better life.

 

And we certainly have many children even in our own society that we have neglected given our often-myopic view of political power, casting them aside as we pursue other agendas. If we cannot see our common humanity, then I dare say we have lost our own humanity.

 

After all, the children of the world are “all our children too.”

And when we neglect our children, we have to live with the reality that their suffering is the living reminder of all the good that we failed to do.

No child deserves the designation of Bui Doi.  We can always do better.

 

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