This child’s name was Aylan Kurdi, and he was a refugee attempting to escape war-torn Syria with his family. Outside of being a martyr, he will never reach his full potential or contribute to mankind. He is far from being the only one.
Millions of children across the developing world, just like Kurdi, will have their lives and dreams derailed or ended due to the conflicts inherited from a world they didn’t have a say in.
Due to its worldwide significance, disregard for the youth of our time is one of the greatest issues challenging our generation.
Approximately 13.7 million children from Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Sudan and Libya are currently not receiving their primary school education due to various conflicts across the Islamic world. This number is equal to 40 percent of the school-aged children in those countries. The damage that number can cause both inside and outside of the countries’ borders is terrifying.
Inside of these countries, the current trends will continue. Human rights will continue to be violated and a never-ending supply of religious militants will always be available. The drought of well-trained professionals in those countries will be near impossible to confront. Possibly worst of all, the subjection of women to property will continue; a misogynistic mind is usually an uneducated one.
On a global scale, our generation and our children will inherit the same issues that the last two administrations have had to contend with.
Similarly, as the amount of weapons becomes smaller and as populations in Africa continue to grow, there will be an increase in conflicts and child soldiers. Often with no better prospects than being a warrior for life, many children will choose this path before reaching the age of 10.
If a child chooses this life, it would become all they know and it would be near impossible to move on. Every major conflict since the end of colonialism in Africa has made use of child soldiers. Without the extreme pressure needed, how could this change?
Within every child across the globe is an agent for change that rivals our greatest heroes. However, it is the conditions during their developing years that will determine whether that individual makes it to adulthood.
I suggest that the education and protection of children should be higher on our priority list. They are the only beings that are capable of true and unfettered hope for humanity. In a world where children are denied an education in a safe environment, the main vehicle to them realizing their potential for change and to embody that hope, is a world devoid of hope for humanity, a world destined to cultivate the worst we have to offer.