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A statement without words

All wars involve horrible acts, with gross suffering and relentless killing by both sides. And when bombs explode and bullets fly, people die by the thousands. The victims are not just soldiers, but also innocent people are also caught in the middle — and that includes children of all ages.

The children who have no voice in the nightmare carnage that war produces perhaps wonder why they were born in the first place, as many of them from birth have known nothing more than fear and terror on a daily basis. It is as though that is the only form of life that exists on Earth.

The recent photograph that flashed around the world of a four-year-old boy sitting quietly covered in blood, mud and dust after being rescued as civil war rages in Syria was a statement and also a question as to why anyone could harm and kill children because of political and ideological differences.

One CNN reporter nearly lost her composure as she wept while relating the story of this little boy, who seemed to represent the full horror of this war, which is said to have claimed the lives of more than 41,000 children.

The Syrian Government appears to be operating without regard for the United Nations, or any of the leading nations, in a ruthless campaign to destroy all opposition to its dictatorial style of rule.

As this horror story continues to unfold thousands of miles away from out beautiful shores in the Atlantic, it is a reminder that as long as innocent children die in bitter wars as various regimes resort to terror to maintain power, the world is a long way from a civilised existence where every citizen can enjoy peace and freedom. A long way indeed.

With so much going on in the world today, with cyberspace communication reaching every corner of the globe, there are still people who will not see that picture. And many who do will view it with yet another feeling of despair because of not having the power to do something about a situation that runs counter to the decent human values that we try to keep alive in free countries.

The picture of that little boy in Syria in a silent way represented the thousands of children who never had a chance to attend school or to play games in the sunshine because political power at any cost means more to a regime that has been condemned worldwide for inflicting such suffering on their own.

That image brought back memories of the little girl, naked and her bare body showing the scars of conflict, running for her life during the Vietnam War. She did survive, but many did not. Then there was the picture not too long ago of a youngster fully clothed, lying on a beach who had drowned when a boat sank with people trying to escape the carnage in Syria.

Yes, there are millions of incidents throughout history where children have lost their lives in wars in many countries. Even though mankind has been able to place men on the Moon, we are still trying to find a way to live in peace on Earth.

Since the picture of that little boy sitting in a red chair caught the attention of the world, other children there have died as the violence continues. If children begin to think war is the solution to all problems, history will be forever repeating itself.

Everyone who is privileged to listen to birds singing in the warm sunshine of peace should never take anything for granted. The free world should combine efforts as never before to stamp out what is turning out to be a disgrace for all humanity. Sadly, the world is at war with itself over extremist groups that operate in many lands with the single objective of eliminating all who oppose their ideology.

There will be no quick answers to any of this, but the statement from that little boy covered in mud should remind us all that the world needs to do better.

Image that shocked the world: footage of this little boy reflects the horror of the war in Syria

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Published August 20, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated August 20, 2016 at 1:29 am)

A statement without words

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