No answers. No suggestions. No advice.
With the ongoing deadly attacks from ISIS, (the horror in Mali is unfolding as I type), today I offer only a few heart breaking observations and questions.
When did the men who are steering this barbarity become so filled with hate? So cruel? As my seven-year-old daughter, Lulu, asked me, “Why do they like being mean?”
Over the weekend, she and I took the train to Dublin. An early celebration for her birthday later this month.
We arrived at our hotel Friday evening and squeezed in a mommy-daughter swim before they closed the pool. We were warm and dry in our fleece jammies when room service arrived – plus a special ice cream with a candle in it for the almost-birthday girl. And then the news of the Paris attacks also arrived via the TV.
“Turn it off, Mammy,” Lulu said, using the sweet Irish version of my title. “I don’t want to spoil our dinner.”
She wasn’t being insensitive. She’s too young. Too in the moment of her own happiness. Obviously, turning it off doesn’t make it go away. Those precious innocent lives that were cut down have been gone a week now. And they’re never coming back. And neither are those from Beirut, from the Russian plane crash, from Syria, from the many other bombings, the beheadings. The grisly list goes on and on…
The next morning, when I came out from the shower, Lulu had drawn me a picture in pencil on the hotel stationery. Along with the clouds and the lead grey rainbow were the following words of promise:
I love you Mammy, and I’ll try my best to be wonderful.”
Her endearing note and the dreadful attacks have nothing in common, really. And yet it made me pause. When do young children whose hearts are naturally filled with joy and play and dreams – children who want to be wonderful – turn into angry, resentful, and terrible adults?
It may be younger than you think. Some psychologists point to nine as the pivotal year for the onset of typical adolescent rebellion. Other studies show children may experience so-called “conduct disorders” exhibiting a severe lack of empathy or caring for others much younger.
And, according to reports, ISIS is capitalizing on this. The Guardian, this week, excerpted from the ISIS manifesto or playbook stating,
Capture the rebelliousness of youth, their energy and idealism, and their readiness for self-sacrifice, while fools preach ‘moderation’ (wasatiyyah), security and avoidance of risk.”
National Public Radio, just yesterday, ran a story from Afghanistan which told of a school run by the Islamic State. There they were, teaching students words like Jihad, Kalashnikov and Infidel. Doing show and tell with a machine gun. Watching videos of the atrocities they’ve committed. Indoctrinating children (only the little boys, actually) as young as three. Three?!?
I am saddened by the horrors ISIS is inflicting through its wanton attacks.
I am also saddened by the horror they are teaching and spreading. ISIS: Stealing children’s wonder. Their desire to be wonderful. And replacing it with fervent hate for people they have never met.
Somebody cue Louis Armstrong please!
Copyright 2015 Gina London. All Rights Reserved.