Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Iraq Occupation's Effect on Iraqi Children

At a recent kindergarten graduation ceremony, young girls smiled behind their brightly colored princess dresses and the boys showed off their best dress shirts. They sipped on juice boxes, played on swings and jumped on and off seesaws.

It was a welcome relief from the war that surrounds them. But when these 5-year-olds spoke, it became apparent just how much the ongoing violence has affected them.

"I'm going to bomb, bomb, bomb the school with everybody in it," said Omar Hussein, as he clutched a pink toy airplane.

At another point, a girl enthusiastically sang, "I give a knife to my father to slaughter the chicken. He gives me a machine gun and a rifle. Now, I am a soldier in the liberation army."


The school's headmistress, Suhailah Ibrahim, says they try to reduce the stress level for the children as much as they can. When bombs go off or shots ring out, she says, "We usually tell them the explosions are far away from us."

Most of all, she says, they just want to "live like before."

"We want an end to the occupation," she says.

Iraqi kindergarten: Smiles and vows to fight -

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