They Are Not to Blame!

By: Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Sun 1 May / May 2016. 11:43 PM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat

When we hear that there are 100 thousand labouring children in Jordan, we should all, least among other things, be ashamed of ourselves; because those innocent children were forced to leave school and abandon their toys, to spend their childhood at a mechanic’s garage or produce shops or any other place, instead of in a library or a playgrounds, or warmth of home, to say the least.

Recent studies exposing the number of labouring children has tripled since 2007: from 33 thousand to 100 thousand, show how hard it has been for the less fortunate, and how unfair their circumstances are.

If we take a moment —a mere second; to pause at the fact, the size of the transgressions against the small ones we are supposed to nurture and protect; the spiritual, moral, psychological, and physical effects of their exploitation; how they have been forfeited their innocence before the boxes and shelves of produce, and under vehicles wheels that run over their spirits and dreams, not necessarily their bodies, this time!

These numbers are not exaggerated. And the reaction in this regard, is not demanded of those responsible —that is most of us— to merely express their shock when their hearts have been drained dry of empathy and sensation; detached from reality. This is our reality, and this is not just some baseless accusation aimed at Jordan’s image before the world, to say that our hearts have died, and that we can recognise childhood, or the rights of children, no more.

Loading craters is one of the things children do for a bunch of bucks. Which is why we see their backs are bent; but we never could distinguish between whether it is the extra weight they have been loading and unloading, or the just the weight of whatever dignity they have left pulling down on their shoulders; they have lost sense of their humanity.

Labouring children, amounting to 100 thousand, fall into two categories. The first being Jordanian children, whose circumstances are unjustly impoverishing, to the point that their parents became actively engaged in employing them to secure income for the family, totally dismissing their children’s futures, set off to ruin the moment they left their schools to work.

Those kids have been made into cheap commodity for employers to be exploited, willingly of course, under terms and conditions unimaginably unfair. With employers would have not only broken the law —a double crime; employing children in need, which is straight out breaking the law, they also force these children to work in bad conditions —let alone the low pay— that make them susceptible to transgression and all kinds of diseases.

The second category of children labouring, is Syrian children; and they are twice the victim. Not only are they, just as Jordanian labouring children are, put in terrible working conditions, these younglings left their homes hoping they would return one day, having left their books and toys in flight of the wrath of a tyrant who does not hesitate to massacre his own people with explosive barrels and other means, nor driving them out to the edges of the world.

Since their day one in the labour market, “labouring children” lost their innocence; their emergent circumstances quickly disfigured them; maturing them before their time, leaving an unnatural trace in their character, due to negligence.

There are huge implications to this situation, and predicting their futures is hard, next to the slight chance they might bump into “good” people, who may show them mercy and ease their physical and spiritual suffering. They are sitting, precious ducks for criminals and terrorists; there are reports indicating over 20 thousand children labour for and with terrorist organisations.

Children, labouring ones, fall victim to the transgressions and toying of the elderly; albeit via the injustices endured by negligent governments failing to alleviate their families from poverty and unemployment, pushing them to the unknown, or victims of war and conflict. In the end, both their present and their future seem dark, so who saves them? And us? For they are not to blame should they grow up criminals or terrorists.