forcibly--installed and outsiders--propelled liberation(!) in Iraq,
has seen more tears than smiles. There isn't any celebration, except
among the looters taking advantage of the post-war lawlessness. Otherwise
Iraq is now a picture of death and destruction, cities like Baghdad,
Bosra and Najaf that were so much full of life until 2 months back,
are now filled with twisted clumps of concrete and mass graveyard. Parents
are wailing over their sons' dead bodies, people wandering in search
of their missing loved ones with hope diminishing very quickly and fear
getting deeper and deeper.
But the hundreds that got killed in the war seem to have been lucky.
At least, in comparison with the thousands, bruised by bombs all over
the body, who are now languishing on deathbeds. Hospitals are over-flown
with wounded women and children, innocent children are lying like lumps
of flesh with legs blown off or hands burnt out or eyes blinded by splinters
or all together. The stock of life saving drugs is either exhausted
or was looted. There is no food and drinking water. Diarrhoea, which
is claiming two children per day, is threatening to take a serious an
epidemic turn. The small number of doctors and nurses (many have fled
away) are finding it impossible to providing proper and timely treatment.
A serious humanitarian crisis seems imminent.
Unless, of course, they are immediately provided with the bare essentials
like food, water, medicine etc. Fortunately efforts are on in different
countries including ours. Thanks to the wide media-coverage, the entire
world has been watching the insufferable miseries the innocent Iraqis
are going through. Eight years old Nafisa Nubaiyyat Haq, a student of
class two in Mary Curie School, says, I feel very bad watching the
sufferings of the Iraqi children. I want to stand by them. Other children
too share Nafisa's feelings.
Particularly, the gory pictures of bomb-bruised children crying in pain
or those lying unconscious, huddled with many others on the floor, have
distressed every human heart. Like adults, children of the rest of the
world have also been moved by the suffering of the Iraqi children. And
like adults they also want to stand by them. Four adolescents, Fahmida
Wadud Chaitee, Sharful Alam, Umama Naoroz Ittela and Siaful Islam, all
of whom worked in the popular children's news programme 'Mukta Khober'
on the now-defunct Ekushey Television, have initiated a campaign called
'Hath bariyee dao' (stretch Your Arms) along with some other children.
Theatre Centre for Social Development or TCSD, an organisation directed
by renowned actor Shahidul Alam Shachchu, has associated itself with
this unique endeavour to guide this young group of children and provide
Ittela, a student of class X of Viquarunnesa School and college and
a member of the forum says that their campaign is being conducted on
two fronts social and cultural. The social campaign involves collecting
donations from the school children's tiffin money. The process is already
underway in 37 schools where teachers are volunteering in collecting
the fund. Gradually more than 100 Bangla and English medium schools
will be brought under this donation scheme. There are plans to arrange
exhibitions where stamps and coins from the collection of the children
and paintings, handicrafts, toys, showpieces will be up for sale. Exhibition
of ornaments collected from the small and silver screen stars will be
on display and fund will be raised from the ticket money as well as
sale of the exhibits.
Besides, a three-day programme is scheduled to begin on May 28. A children
trade fair will be organised where handicrafts and paintings done by
the children will be on display and up for sale. There will also be
painting exhibitions of celebrated artists, band music, magic show and
other exciting programmes.
Though the present initiative has been taken up to help the Iraqi children,
this campaign of 'Hath bariyee dao' will not cease. We want to continue
with our activities and stand beside the afflicted children all over
the world, including Bangladesh, 12 year-old Saif reveals their future
plan. The collected donation will be handed over to Prime Minister Khaleda
Zia for sending it to the Iraq. This unique initiative of the children
has already inspired some of the noted names of the country like filmmaker
Chashi Nazrul Islam, Amzad Hossain, Shahidul Islam Khokon, renowned
fashion designer Bibi Rasel, writer Imdadul Haq Milon, Child Rights
Forum's Chairperson Dr. Hamidul Huq to get associated with this noble
venture. Every bit of help of ours can save a child's life and bring
back the smile it has forgotten amidst the bloodshed and chaos of war