A two minute film, produced in Dutch, has highlighted the lives of eight Palestinian children killed during the latest conflict in Gaza.
Entitled, ‘We are no longer here, do you care?’ the images are striking: young children playing on the beach, an infant being put down for the night, and a young teenage girl playing on the computer. It’s only later in the video you realize that these were their final moments; these are the places where they died.
The children the Dutch actors portray are real-life stories from the victims of this tragedy:
Aahed Baker, 10 years old, with his family members, Ismail Baker, 9, Zakareyya Baker, 10 and Mohammed Baker, 11, died while running from attacks on a local beach.
Ranim Abdul-Ghafoor, a 1-year-old infant, died in her sleep when her house was shelled.
Anas Qandeel was a 17-year-old girl whose last message on Facebook read, “I can’t sleep, when are you going to attack my home?” She died an hour later, when the IDF did just that.
Nour Al-Najdi, a 10-year-old girl, died when her house collapsed after the building next door was shelled.
Sahir Abou Namous, a 5-year-old, discusses his love for the park; Sahir and his mother were playing at the park when they were hit by a missile and killed.
The video poses an interesting juxtaposition. By seeing these children in western settings, with westernized faces, it is easier to empathize. Rather than just reading names on the page, we are allowed to view these children for what they were: living souls.
The video goes on to state that during the July incursion on Gaza, Israel has killed 10 Palestinian children every day. Since 2000, one Palestinian child has died on average every 3 days. It’s an effective video, and most, if not all will find themselves emotional as they watch innocent children vanish from this world.
However, groups at the UN fear that the number of child casualties might actually be considerably higher. At one point, the UN declared that “One child has died every hour for the past 2 days.” World Vision International has stated, “So far, more children have been killed by Israeli fire than Palestinian militants.”
When it comes to the conflict between Israel and Palestine, it’s easy to choose sides and build up an argument in defense of it. However, when it comes to children, it is just as easy to tear those walls down. As of press, around 1,500 Palestinians have died, and UNICEF is estimating that 1 in 3 of those deaths have been children.
Although the Israeli Military takes steps to prevent civilian casualties, such as calling an apartment block before a strike informing them to evacuate, and roof knocking (where a small missile ‘knocks’ into a roof 1 minute before a devastating strike), human rights workers have claimed this method is unhelpful. The Mezan Center for Human Rights, for instance, shows the inconsistent results of evacuation orders, confirming that out of 477 civilian homes destroyed, 332 people have died in their home.
Many of the children in this video also perished in this way.
However, the danger doesn’t end for children who are able to evacuate. According to a report by Save the Children, “Reports that schools hosting thousands of the displaced are facing extreme water shortages, and families are struggling to find adequate food for babies and children. Hospitals, clinics and health facilities have been hit, and at least 90 schools have been damaged.”
Child welfare advocates are concerned about the psychological impacts that face children who lose a sibling and grow up with war. As one article points out, the average six year old in Gaza has already lived through 3 military incursions.
Yet for the children in the video, it’s already too late. The video poses the question: Do You Care? on multiple occasions. Yet as fighting continues, for the children of Palestine, the answer from the international community would seem to be a resounding ‘No.’