For the right of Palestinian children to exist

Artist: Maram T Saqer


Those who maintain a minimum humanist spirit and democratic civility consider what the Zionist State of Israel is doing to Palestinian children a crime.

Gaza (or: they can't keep being born)
30 thousand dead.
Does this information fit in a verse?
Half of those killed in this war are children…
70% of the identified bodies are women.
Counting pregnant women.
A war is underway against the wombs of Palestinian women.
They can't keep being born...
in Gaza…
in Ramallah.
They (the Palestinians)
they cannot continue to be born.
Eighty-four years after Auschwitz,
moves before my eyes of amazement
a war of extermination
against women and children…
Rubble in the streets.
Debris of bodies.
Rubble in souls.
Pedro Tierra

Those who maintain a minimum humanist spirit and democratic civility consider what the Zionist State of Israel is doing to Palestinian children a crime. Violating them is unacceptable, above all, because they are subjects with rights, who “according to the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, freedom, justice and peace in the world are based on the recognition of inherent dignity and equal rights and inalienable rights of all members of the human family”, but “children have the right to special care and assistance” (Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989), that is, children must be a priority in our societies.

It is also noteworthy that they are experiencing a unique moment in the continuum process of becoming human. The uniqueness of childhood lies in the varied ways of being, thinking, acting and feeling in children, which are manifested in their gaze, gestures, movement, babbling, with reasoning in articulation, or in thoughtful silence, in crying or in laughter, in an amazing question or in a surprising answer.

It can no longer be accepted that the Zionist ideology, identified with racism and colonialism, is the ideological-political support of the State of Israel, created by UN Resolution 181 in 1948, whose implementation generated the Nakba, “catastrophe” in Arabic, which resulted in deaths and the violent expulsion of 750 Palestinians from their homes (today there are 1,5 million displaced Palestinians!), dramatically affecting children.

By the way, this violent profile of Zionists was denounced by Hannah Arendt and Albert Einstein, in 1948, in a letter published in the newspaper The New York Times: they are “[…] very close[s] in organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and fascist parties.”

It is necessary to repudiate the Zionist worldview, as it has led to the deaths of children, in fact, of an entire generation. Even though denied by the Zionist State of Israel, Palestinian children have the right to exist and to exist as children, and not to be subjected to the new Nakba.

How is it possible for someone to be indifferent to a Palestinian child arrested by the military, killed, injured or amputated by the bombings that the Zionist State of Israel has carried out in cities, towns, schools, universities, cultural centers, temples and hospitals? Where is humanity in this inhumane and dehumanizing world, which makes children objects of war?

In fact, what is happening in Palestine today is not war, because war is fought between soldiers and not between heavily armed warriors and children, like those who still resist, carrying toys. in the hands, as others exchanged them for handcuffs. This is not war, because “international humanitarian law” has rules for it, which say what can and cannot be done.

The “Geneva Conventions” and their “Additional Protocols”, the “1907 Hague Conventions”, the “Convention on the Rights of the Child”, among others, state that all civilians must be protected( as) and respected. This is the norm that the criminal Zionist State of Israel insists on denying since its creation, supported by US imperialism and its henchmen, and through the fighting machine it has at its disposal and which is used and abused with the cowardice that reveals the catastrophic stage of inhumanity. that humanity has achieved, because it has become the object of a racist and colonialist system, which is the subject that eliminates children.

It has never been so easy to understand and feel the truth of Sartre’s maxim “Hell is other people”, present in the play between four walls, where Jean-Paul Sartre reports on the life of Garcin, a former combatant convicted of desertion. If the French philosopher, with this sentence, alluded to the fact that the constitution of each person occurs in alterity, in the encounter with the other, it has been dramatically retranslated in the tartaric ordeal of Palestinian children with the other : the Zionist State of Israel, which made their own home hell for them, their own school and amusement park a martyrdom, becoming spaces of abuse, torture and death.

Hannah Arendt's thesis, in the book Eichmann in Jerusalem: an account of the banality of evil, because it is not about individuals who gave up their own decision in order to blindly follow orders that they do not question, but about an evil that corrupted the hearts and minds of an entire community, who in Brazil and around the world support the genocide of Palestinian people for the State of Israel.

This leads to the reflection that it is difficult to know whether human beings are born good because nature is good, as Rousseau's philosophy said, but certainly the Zionist ideology has made those who let themselves depraved and criminals. for her to guide. It also makes us think of the Foucauldian concept of necropolitics, by Cameroonian Achille Mbembe, since what has been seen for some time in Palestine is precisely letting people die, combined with making bodies and minds die.

Who could, in the presence of Palestinian children, repeat what the Minister of Social Equality and Women's Empowerment of Israel, May Golan, said on 21/02/2024: “I am proud of the ruins of Gaza! Let every baby – even at 80 – tell their grandchildren what the Jews did when they murdered their families, raped them and kidnapped their citizens”? Who would face the violated gaze of Palestinian children and consent to Yoav Gallant, Minister of Defense of Tel Aviv, who in October 2023, when justifying the blockade of energy, water and food to Gaza, said: Palestinians are “human animals”? Few, but the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu is certainly one of them!

It is necessary to resist this barbarity, not to be indifferent to it, not to be “dead weight in this story”, because “to live is to take sides” (Gramsci), the party of Palestinian children. Humanity did not rise up against Nazism because it eliminated Jews, but because it killed millions of humans. Humanity did not close ranks against the apartheid because Africans were black, but because they were human beings. Many were not outraged by the attacks on indigenous peoples, recently carried out by Jair Bolsonaro's government, because they were indigenous, but because they were human.

It is urgent to close ranks in the fight against the genocide that the State of Israel is promoting against human Palestinian children and face the “pedagogy” of hatred, violence, the elimination of the other, as it is a political project- inhumane military-pedagogical approach, which is challenging humanity today.

This is what the members of the research project “On the other side of the margin: challenges and propositions in confronting social inequalities in childhood during a pandemic” (PDOLM) try to do with this article. It was produced during the Covid-19 pandemic, when the material conditions of various social groups worsened, having an unequal impact on the lives of babies, children and their families, which led to the need to research the contexts of these communities: indigenous, quilombolas, riverside, rural, urban centers and outskirts.

The objective is to build indicators referring to social inequalities experienced in different ways in at least three of the country's five macro-regions, pointing to the construction of an intersectoral public policy agenda for children and their families. In this quest to understand and make decisions about this reality, members of the project “On the other side of the margin…” have also campaigned in favor of the rights of babies and children, because there are no boundaries to fight for children’s rights to have a childhood.

Therefore, members of the PDOLM call on Brazilian authorities from the three branches of the Republic to make efforts to: (a) denounce the violence that the State of Israel promotes against Palestinian children; (b) based on “international humanitarian law”, activate foreign bodies for the protection of human rights and children, with a view to mobilizing them to take measures for peace in Palestine and for an immediate ceasefire by the Zionist State of Israel ; (c) demand the immediate creation of a free and sovereign Palestinian State; (d) promote national and international campaigns to provide material and immaterial support to Palestinian children.

With a view to strengthening this call, the PDOLM coordination will soon make available a manifesto with the same content as this article, so that researchers and study and research groups on childhood in Brazil can adhere to it and, thus, become also mobilize for other actions in favor of Palestinian children being able to exist and exist as children.

Marco Francisco Martins (UFSCar)

Maria Walburga dos Santos (UFSCar)

Angela Maria Scalabrin Coutinho (UFPR)

Cleonice Maria Tomazzetti (UFSCar)

Emilia Peixoto Vieira (UESC)

Francilene de Aguiar Parente (UFPA)

Fernanda de Lourdes Almeida Leal (UFCG)

Beleni Saléte Grando (UFMT)

Romilson Martins Siqueira (PUC-GO)

Daniele Marques Vieira (UFSCar and UFRGS)

Andréia Regina de Oliveira Camargo (UNIFESP and UFSCar)

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