Why is it that nearly all media reports of casualties that result from disastrous situations feel obliged to give children special mention? For example, “A bomb exploded outside a busy market in central Jerusalem this afternoon killing eighteen people including three children.” Is the death of three children supposed to heighten our sense of the tragedy? Let’s suppose no children were killed. Then why not just report, “…but, thank God, only adults were killed.” However, it might be mentioned that a nine year old boy suffered a sprained ankle when hit by a severed limb thoughtlessly discarded by an obviously overweight adult victim. Better yet if the child was female. Harm endured by little girls is considered slightly more deplorable…well, in the Western world anyway. In much of Asia and, perhaps, all Islamic societies, young boys enjoy a privileged status. Their female counterparts are often lucky if they are allowed to survive the birthing process.
Believe me; I have nothing against children…well, except for when they start making a lot of noise for no particular reason. Most parents of newborn children seem especially anxious for the day their child learns how to walk and talk. However, the thrill doesn’t usually last for long. Soon after the child starts walking and talking the parents wish it would sit down and shut up. I can certainly sympathize with that attitude. Of course, I’ve never had a child of my own although rumor has it that I used to be one. My mother has shown me photographs of a little boy she claims were of me. Frankly, they don’t look at all like the fellow in the mirror but, I take her word for it.
What’s even more alarming is that news accounts of tragedies in the near future may disregard the human loss of life altogether. Something like: “Fire swept through an apartment complex in Southern California last night killing an untold number of pets. The bodies of seven dogs, five kittens and a gerbil named ‘Furry’ have been recovered so far. Many pets remain unaccounted for including a parakeet belonging to the Murray family. Sad to report that the parakeet, whose name is being withheld prior to notifying next of kin, will never be positively identified because not one of the six Murray family members bothered to survive the fire. It’s believed that new regulations will soon go into effect prohibiting people like that from owning pets”.
What’s really sad to report is that there are more organizations these days devoted to the ‘humane’ treatment of animals than there are to humans. Animal rights groups seem to be hemorrhaging around the planet. It’s clear that in many societies animals are held in higher regard than humans and God help us if that trend continues. Pets are increasingly preferred as companions than humans are. Some people would rather have a dog or a cat than a spouse or a child. They talk to their pets, confide in them, cuddle with them and often pamper and provide for them in a fashion that far exceeds the way a third of the world’s population is accustomed to. Twenty years ago here in Cambodia there were few pets and no place to purchase pet food. People ate dogs here. Many still do. Still, poverty is rampant and yet Westerners disregard that in favor of spending twenty times as much money catering to a dog than it would require to provide a decent meal for a poor person (including children) who often resort to rummaging through piles of garbage for a bit to eat. It strikes me that something is terribly amiss with that scenario. There are, actually, Western groups waltzing around this 3rd world country condemning the native population for dining on dog meat. I mean honestly, who do those arrogant spoiled brats think they are? They should go back where they came from and stop meddling in the affairs of a culture for which they have little understanding and less respect.
And, to Americans in particular…familiarize yourselves with your country’s involvement here. Had it not been for the widespread illegal bombing of this country in the early 70’s the Khmer Rouge would never have risen to power and subjected this nation to four years of hell. Disease, starvation and torture resulted in the deaths of nearly 25% of the population (including children). Many of those who managed to survive did so by eating dogs and various other creatures that are sacrosanct pets where you come from.
As Plato quotes Socrates as saying, “Arrogance is the twin sister of Ignorance.” Pack up your arrogance in a carry-on bag, fly home and wallow in your own ignorance. To hell with cultural imperialism. Beware of its casualties…including children.