HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
October 2, 2006, Herald Journal

And we worry about violence on TV


I recently read an article in the Star Tribune by a journalist in Iraq titled “Iraq’s Children: Lost Generation,” about Iraqi children are growing up seeing and being a part of the violence we try to protect our children from watching on TV.

The photo along with article was of two Iraqi boys using their shirts to cover up their mouths and noses from breathing in the stench of bodies being removed from a car bomb that happened last May. Can you imagine?

The article continued with stories of children seeing violence and death first-hand that has tainted their minds forever.

A 6-year-old Iraqi girl stepped out of her house to go to school, she saw a headless body, screamed, fainted, and hasn’t spoken since.

It’s one thing to see something such as this in a movie, but it’s completely another seeing it right in front of your eyes.

At least with TV, there is a separation between reality and fantasy. Some believe children can’t distinguish the difference between the two . . . but just the fact that it’s inside a glass box, makes it that much less real.

Kids know what is right in front of them and what is inside of the box. If that girl would’ve seen that on TV, would she be talking right now? Yes, she would.

I feel sad for those kids that have to grow up in a real horror show.

The article also stated that nearly half of the Iraqi population is under the age of 18. What will the country be like with those kids as their leaders, teachers and employers?

Will the traumatization make them more compassionate or more violent?

This is a part of war that war activists put their blinders on for. Is the war really making the future of Iraq more promising?

Another story from the article was of a girl who saw her father beheaded right before her eyes by militant groups. Her father was working as a translator for American troops.

If the war was happening on American turf with American children seeing their families dying, would we still be for the war? Definitely not. But, we can’t see what’s going on. Therefore, it’s that much harder to believe. It’s like watching TV. It’s not reality until it is seen right before your eyes.

These Iraqi children are called the “lost generation” according to the article, because they are easy targets for “criminals and insurgents to recruit them as accomplices,” according to a professor at Mosul University.

Granted, much of this was occurring before America came into their country. But are we actually making a better country for these children to grow up in, or has the damage already been done and are we now just making it worse for them?