2015 Child Rights Essay Competition: 3rd Place, Group 1 (Grades 5-8)
Chideraa Obidi – Nkpor, Nigeria / Winners International School
There is another bombing in the news. Children and helpless women died in their numbers. Government wants to put it to a stop, but not through dialogue, but guns and bombs. They have sent an air-raid and from a distance they have killed from the air. More deaths were recorded, yet they were wives and children of the evil bombers.
Amanda died also in the bombing. It was a bombing on a Christmas day. I was grieving. I have lost a good friend. Still grieving the loss, still seeing more deaths. Peace was what I wanted, but I was afraid. I have consistently noted the ominous trend of world events and wondered about my very existence. Our leaders, our parents, adults, all and all, don’t care about us. They have made us see more than our eyes can see and made us witness what we should not have.
I have lived all my life with people who shared different religion and cultures with me. Some of these people I meet and mixed with everyday were childhood friends. We meet in school as classmates. We meet in streets as neighbors. We meet playgrounds as friends. They became to us people we could not live without. It was not as though, we have not heard our parents discuss negative things about them. They were called pagans and killers. They were called extremist and fanatics. I called them friends and neighbors. They were friends. Despite the seed of hatred and things said by my parents which I assumed as lies, we refused to be enemies.
Things took a different shape sometime later when we heard rumors of fighting. I would not be harmed, I thought. They would not be harmed, my friends also thought. Yet, a day we hated to see came. It was on a Christmas morning. December 25, 2011. It was a day of horror, a day of anguish, and a day of storm for many Christians in Northeast Nigeria, when some religious nuts attacked worshipers in the church and killed tens of innocent men and women and their children. Some of these ones were also classmates, friends and playmates. This act was carried out by people we never knew could. This was vile act of raw hatred, unjustifiable by any rational thought, but perpetuated anyway in the name of God.
It gives us great concern and makes us lose sleep in most hours of the night on the raw hatred and extinction which many children and helpless women faces in Nigeria in the last three years or more. I wonder. We may not have any excuse for future generation.
Christmas that year was not as festive as it used to and our Muslim friends sympathized with us. Soon we resumed for the new school term and we all came back and mourned our friends that the killings claimed. They were very understanding and we lived as though nothing happened.
Even after three years, our closeness had deepened. We refused to be enemies. We need peace and we want to live in a peaceful society. We know that for this to be possible, we should learn to appreciate and respect others irrespective of religious affiliation. This we have come to learn over time. In as much as we can, we have worked to transform the life of every individual that walks through our doors, in our classrooms and streets leaving a lasting impression in their memories to live with. We have refused to be misguided and misinformed about our friends because they are different from us.
Throughout history different elements operated at different times to provide an anchor, an amalgam, a source of unity for societies and history says so. There were family bonds, great monarchs, great empires, the world’s great religions and, in modern times, political ideologies and they were here to make us feel. Today none of these factors seems strong enough to hold societies in check or to unite nations and peoples in peace. She was thinking all the more so.
She sits and watches their world slipping into the void of death as if no one has the power to stop it. Every day I listen to radio news about more killing outside my country. I cannot comprehend why the fighting, killings and bombings. We should have loved. We are either black or which, Christian or pagan, man or woman. There should not have been a reason to hate or to kill. It makes me feel bad.
I wait for the sign telling me that I will one day be able to breathe and see without the smog of fear filling my throat and stinging my eyes. I wait for the people who hold my world’s fate to tell me that I have the right to grow up, to marry and to have children who will not live in such a place, who will not be afraid of losing even this nightmare world before they have known it. I wait to have children sing in the air with the birds and stand still for a moment for fallen heroes and children who fought with us, who never live to see this day. I wait to see a world where I will no longer fear or be hated or be judged. I want a free world, where I will live in the comfort of love ones, in their arms and sing with them.
I want to face tomorrow when our children will look into our eyes and tell us that we have brought them into the world. A peaceful world where peace will be a global slogan is possible tomorrow as it starts today. We know that by showing love and reciprocity, understanding and solidarity, we join hands in support of one another and make the world a theatre of peace, a world free from hatred, prejudice and wars. We have started here and wish to share this to children of the world.