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ON AIR: Children in war and women's march

Kevin Anderson | 17:58 UK time, Wednesday, 9 August 2006

Yesterday, Mike in New York City left this comment:

In Lebanon, what's happening to the childeren whose parents have died? Who and how are they being taken care of? For some reason this has not been covered by the media.

Well, Mike, this is your programme. We've got Lebanese and Israeli children to tell you how they are being taken care and how the violence is affecting them. We've got three Lebanese girls between the ages of seven and 13.

We're also going to talk to women who are marching in South Africa to mark a groundbreaking march. If you want to listen live, click here.

As Anu said, UNICEF says that a third of those killed are children and half of the homeless are children.

Alaa, aged 7, went to Lebanon to see her family. She was very scared by the bombs. Batol, aged 12, said that the bombs were only 50 yards from their house.

Zainab, 13, told how they fled to East Beirut. They arrived on the 12 July, the day the bombing started. Batol said that they went to the airport to escape, but then it was bombed. They had to flee to the east. It was their sixth visit to Lebanon.

Eran is an Israeli father. He has two childrens, aged three and six. Michal is 17. She lives in the north of Israel. Just as the three children in Beirut, she was frightened by the bombing. Almost everyone has left northern Israel, she said.

Zainab asked Michal how is it now? How does she feel? Michal said:

Everyone is scared. We try to keep from going outside. When there is an alarm, we all have to run for a shelter.

Batol told of how she had to shelter in a school. They didn't have enough food, and when the electricity goes out, they couldn't find out what was happening. They couldn't get any news.

Zainab said she feels much safer. Alaa says that she is sad for all of the innocent people dying.

Liz in Detroit sent us this e-mail:

I would be interested in hearing what the children would say to the adults, the world leaders, who will decide what happens in Lebanon and Israel ?

Batol said: "Please just stop this."

Natasha, 13-years-old, lives in Lebanon. Her family came from the south to cities in the north. Natasha asked Zainab how it was to be in London. Zainab said she felt safer but was sad for those she left behind.

Natasha said that she could have left but didn't want to leave her family. They could hear the airplanes overhead. She said:

We as children want to live our lives. We are seeing our dreams melting. We want to return to our homes, but Israel has to leave.

She told our Israeli callers that she wants liberty and freedom. She told Eran that she felt that Israel wanted their land.

Eran said that he only wanted peace for his people in the north of Israel. They didn't want to control Lebanon. He said he wanted Hezbollah to stop firing missiles into Israel.

We got this e-mail from Fawzi in the US:

As a Lebanese living in America I am disgusted but what has happened to our beautiful country of Lebanon but I am equally, if not more disgusted about what has happened to the future of our nation. The inhumane killing of innocent children and adults must stop immediately. Most importantly I just want to let Lebanon and all the kids know that every Lebanese around the world is praying for you everyday and I hope that you can grow up and lead Lebanon back to the glory days.
Thank You and God bless Lebanon!

Anu asked the children what they would say to their own people. Natasha said that Hezbollah was defending them.

Michal would say to her leaders that the Israeli army should continue to fight to protect citizens and hurt terrorists.

But Anu pointed out that while they were all scared, they were all telling their forces to keep fighting.

Your comments

We had a huge response to this programme:

Hoseah Njuguna from Atlanta in the US:

After listening to the children from Lebanon, Israel and Palestine.

I am saddened to say that this violence will continue past their generation. They are all justifying their own military. They are more concerned with justification of their actions and demonizing of the other as opposed to finding a solution. The end of the conflict is not near at all.

Karim sent us this e-mail comment:

I want to ask all the children if they have ever thought of why the other side feels fear, and what they - themselves could do about that fear (without all the "it's their fault") argument.
If each child on both sides were given say a magic power to do one thing to help, on the condition it must be for the other side, what would they choose ? another rule. - it must be positive - that is they can't choose that one side NOT do something.

Carlos Vasquez sent us this e-mail:

Israel cannot justify the defense of their supposed land. They stole the land from the state of Palestine and the only way to peace is to give the land back. Its that simple.

Jessica in Hong Kong had this question:

I would like to know what all the speakers on air, would like us as listeners to do, for them?

Mary Kendrick, a Canadian living and working in Holland sent us this e-mail:

I am so impressed with the respect that the children are able to demonstrate in comparison with the discussions that I have listened to with adults. They allow each other to express their opinions and their beliefs without interrupting. You have a lot to teach us as adults. What you have to say is important and I am enjoying listening to your discussion and sharing of information

We had this anonymous e-mail:

I am listening to the online broadcast, where the Lebanese child claims that Hezbollah is not killing civillians. Some one has to explain the truth to this girl.

Kathryn in Atlanta sent us two text messages. She first sent us this message:

How can the worlds politicians justify the fright in these children? i dont understand why their lives are expendable.

But minutes later, as Anu asked them about how they were justifying their own sides and urging them to continue to fight, Kathryn followed up her message:

I changed my mind. these children r future protaganists imitating their elders.

Women march in South Africa

Fifty years ago, women marched in South Africa in an historic anti-apartheid march. Today, they remembered that march. Amina Chachala, now 76 years old, marched 50 years ago. She told us about that day.

They sung a song composed by a group of women in Durban. It said women are as strong as a rock, if you strike a woman, you will strike a rock.

Mandisa Dlamini, a reporter with YFM radio, said that women still face many challenges, especially in the work place. Women are not given enough opportunities in the work place.

The latest police data in South Africa said that in 2004, 50,000 women were raped in South Africa. One newspaper there described "a resilant culture of abuse against women".

Carrie, a spokesperson for the One in Nine campaign, said that women face a lot of violence. She saw little celebration for the march today. She thought it wouldn't confront the culture of violance there. She said that lesbians faced hate crimes in South Africa, where they were being raped just because of their sexual orientation.

Delphine who works a group fighting violence against women said that it was not only women's responsibility to fight against violence against women but everyone in society needs to take responsibility.


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