Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

[Reader Response] The Israel-Lebanon Crisis

Posted by Lex Fear on August 4, 2006

Teaching children to burn flags, paint bombs, or kill indiscriminately without ethical and moral objectives is a spiritual abuse. It removes the meaning and purpose behind the conflict and replaces it with hate and suffering.

Last week I posted briefly on the Israeli-Lebanon crisis and my views. You can read it here.

I received a couple of comments from Kath, who is one of the friends I’ve never met, author of In Training. Kath is an American engaged to a British Royal Marine, so she knows what its like to be in a relationship in 2 different countries, as I am. We don’t share many of the same views on war or politics, but I read her blog and find it interesting what she has to say, occasionally finding some common ground! It’s always good to hear a viewpoint different from what you believe so I never take offence, and I’m pretty certain Kath doesn’t either. The comment that Kath made is as a follows:

“I wonder if you’d heard the actual background of those photographs with children. Might want to check out this site to get the story: http://www.sandmonkey.org/2006/07/18/the-fucked-up-pictures-explained

Also, I find it interesting that you are going after Israel for what you call “brainwashing” of children, (without knowing the story) but say nothing of Hezbollah or the Palestinians using them — which is well documented.” – Kath

Firstly, I think I need to clarify my position. I’m not left, right, liberal or conservative, I’m a (British) born again Christian. Us British tend not to pick sides in politics, instead choosing to lament the whole process. What I’m interested in mostly is justice, the search for Christ and pointing out hypocrisy (though occasionally I unfortunately display some myself). I get annoyed at what I see as injustice and the doctrine of the American religious right. Some would call me liberal and it’s fair that I lean towards liberal policy, but this is still only when it coincides with my interpretation of my faith and the message of Jesus.

I’ll start by admitting that it is true, I don’t know the background to these pictures that were posted by Kel at The Osterley Times. Kath has been kind enough to add a link to the original blog the images were posted on, which is a follow up post explaining the background on these images. Here is an excerpt:

“a new army unit arrived, kids were bored, went out with parents to look — there were TWELVE photographers there — and they egged the kids on — the kids are low class, not educated, have never met a Lebanese, just want to live their lives, don’t understand why Lebanon attacked their home, etc. — the photographers told them “hey, your cousins in america will see you!” — mostly foreign photographers — so the kids, who were bored and restless and had been cooped up in bomb shelters for 5 days, took the felt markers and drew messages tonasrallah — there were no cries of hatred toward lebanese” – Rantings of a Sandmonkey

It’s an interesting post, and many others have commented on it both for and against, but I won’t get into the comments. Having now read the background on these pictures, however, I am no less or more convinced of Israel’s guilt.

The story is brief and can basically be summed up in this way: They were bored Israeli children, who were ‘egged on’ by some foreign photographers, to paint bombs in a sort of elaborately staged press opportunity.

Regardless of whether this story is true, in part or in whole, there are some points I would like to make:

1) I have no doubt that the children did not know what they were doing. I have no doubt that the little girl smiling, is having fun with no awareness of the gravity of her actions. If you check the link to Kels post, you will see that it is entitled “For They Know Not What They Do”. Which is actually taken ad verbatim from the end of a line by Jesus “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” in the King James version of the New Testament (Luke 23:34).

I also made reference to the Bible in my post:

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” – Proverbs 22:6 NIV

It’s pretty clear that these children are not doing this out of hate, however I was inferring that these children are being ‘trained up’ in the way of war and/or hatred without meaning. In fact, if you think about it, it’s worse that they don’t know what they are doing! Since they have no cause or purpose for doing this, they are being taught to look at bombs as some sort of fun object, and not the reality which is infrastructure and human beings, being blown apart.

2) Whether it is journalists or the Israeli Army who set up this photo-op, a large portion of guilt at least, lies with the Israeli Army. Why? Because who leaves bombs out in the street for kids to play with? It may be a war zone, but are you telling me that there was not one responsible adult or commanding army officer present who would see the dangers to the lives of these children (imagine a ‘stray’ Hezbollah rocket landed in the vicinity of these shells)? If this was somewhere in the UK (say Northern Ireland) there would be a public outrage, followed by an inquiry. And they say Israel is a “bulwark of democracy”, “sticking up for civilization in the midst of chaos”!

If the story is true, there is no doubt in my mind blame lies with every adult present- the photographers, the army officers who left those shells unattended(?) and any parents. If not, it does not let the Israeli army off the hook. I seriously doubt those journalists just so happened to be carrying those shells around with them looking for children to do some painting.

3) I make no apologies for “going after Israel”, since it is their children and their bombs in these photos. Similarly, I make no apology for mentioning Islamic terror groups in Afghanistan in the same post.

If you check out a post I made recently on Dark Side of the Light, you will find I link both images of Arab and the Israeli children. The nature of my post was satirical, however I intended to make a point, as I do with all my satire.

I find the use of children in warfare abhorrent, whether it is a state, nation, freedom fighters or terror groups. Teaching children to burn flags, paint bombs, or kill indiscriminately without ethical and moral objectives is a spiritual abuse. It removes the meaning and purpose behind the conflict and replaces it with hate and suffering.

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