Libyan children traumatised by war
By Essam Mohamed for Magharebia in Tripoli – 14/06/11
Moamer Kadhafi's beleaguered regime is now turning to children to get its message out.
To pressure states that have recognised the Libyan National Transitional Council (TNC), the Tripoli-based government gathered children for a conference in Sirte on Saturday (June 12th).
The "Innocence in the Face of Terrorism" event featured children speaking out to demand an end to the counter-Kadhafi offensive.
One child participant, Abu Lamousha sent a message to the children of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Both countries have contributed to the UN-backed no-fly zone and recognised the NTC as the legitimate government of Libya.
"You go to school, play in streets, you're not frightened by the sound of planes or tanks; you don't hear the sound of explosions; you still have your moms. We are children too, and we have the same wishes as you," Abu Lamousha said.
Another child read from a prepared text: "We, the children of Libya, confirm the unity of Libya as one, undivided state,"
"We ask the world to leave Libya for the Libyan people, who have the right to self-determination," Mohamed Ibrahim Abu Bakr read aloud. "We, today's children, will be men of tomorrow, and we have to take part in charting this future."
The Sirte conference comes after Libya's rebels issued their own statement on how the war was affecting Benghazi's children.
"We the February 17th children salute all those who stand by our side in demanding our legitimate rights and realising our dreams. We want to grow up and live under a new regime full of peace and security," the rebel statement said. "We're the grandchildren of al-Mokhtar raise the slogan 'either we win or die.'"
Magharebia previously met with Benghazi children who were drawing and asked them for their opinion. One of them said: "We, the children of February 17th, want life. Through our drawings, we say we don't want Moamer Kadhafi; rather, we want to live in freedom and dignity."
Sixth grader Ghada Ali said that she drew "a complex picture showing Moamer Kadhafi as having octopus arms, with hyena teeth and he himself was the monkey of Africa's monkeys, with his natural place to be the zoo. I drew a second picture, which is a ship at port symbolising free Libya after the suffering that we're living is over."
"I used to love father Moamer, but after he started killing and torturing us, I hated him," Ammar Ramzi said. "God willing, he will die and we will just get rid of him."
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