War, war, war. Not a day goes by without journalists reporting on armed conflicts, on deaths, numbers of wounded, mass graves, land mine victims, forced removals and rapes. But we hear less about children in war zones. They often lose their families, experience hunger, violence, state oppression and flight. They’re injured, raped, step on landmines, lose an arm or a leg – or are trained as child soldiers. It’s hard for us as adults to imagine, even more so for children.
That’s why the Dutch Red Cross, in cooperation with the Humanity House Museum in The Hague, has developed the interactive touring exhibition “Kind onder Vuur” – “Child under Fire”. Children are the intended audience, but it’s fascinating for adults as well. This exhibition has now found a permanent home here in the Red Cross Museum.
In the exhibition, you’ll meet Farah, Vian and Angie. Ordinary children, until war breaks out. Farah’s house in the Palestinian territories was destroyed. Now, she lives in a container. Vian was forced to flee because his home in Syria came under rocket fire. And Angie, in Columbia, trod on a landmine and lost her leg. But all of them discovered that even during an inhumane war, there are rules – specifically, those derived from international humanitarian law.
Have you noticed the parallel bars over on the right, by the window? Children and adults re-learn how to walk with an artificial limb on an apparatus like this one. In Afghanistan alone, the Red Cross operates seven orthopaedic centres, which also make prostheses for landmine victims. Some 50 per cent of those injured are children. Like many others, Angie now has a prosthetic leg and is able to walk again.
Foto: © Rotkreuz Museum