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The Orion

Children are not martyrs

The word “martyr” translates the word “shaheed” in Arabic
Ari Sorokin
I fixed the monument to the “Martyred Children” of Gaza.

A few weeks ago, I saw a Palestinian monument to the martyred children of Gaza. So I decided to flip it and replace the sign with the words “Down with Hamas,” “Hamas are Child Abusers,” “End Hamas to Save the Kids” and of course: “#hamsasisisis.” 

This is a kid’s park where children should have the right to be innocent and play, not be exposed to a war they are too young to process. The memorial consists mainly of litter that conveys a message. It is a virtue signal nobody asked for that needs to be taken down.  

This war has resulted in the deaths of many children. One is too many! But civilians always die in war, no matter how many safeguards are in place. Genocide is far different from the natural consequences of war started by Hamas. That doesn’t make it less tragic, but comparing this war to the holocaust is like comparing apples to oranges. 

The sign mentioned how the “bombs are still dropping” which is false. Israel may have started with aerial bombardment however that is standard for most modern militaries. Most of the war is urban combat, one of the most challenging. 

Much of the combat is house-to-house in cramped conditions where enemy troops can hide amongst the rubble and ambush people. 

Wars like these haven’t been seen since the battle of Mosul and Raqqa against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.  And while an immense amount of civilians have died in Gaza, the multinational coalition against ISIS killed a comparable amount of civilians in Operation Inherent Resolve. 

The word “martyr” translates the word “shaheed” in Arabic. A shahid is someone who dies for Islam, often in a battle or through the deaths of others. That is why when Hezbollah committed the first suicide bombing in the Lebanese civil war, Islamic clerics determined that it was a form of self-martyrdom. 

So, if Israel is killing children and the children are martyrs, that would imply that they are legitimate military targets as they were fighting for the cause, something antithetical to their narrative. 

In reality, the kids who are dying are victims of child abuse, not abuse by the Israelis but by the parents who groom them into being shaheeds and the government that glamorizes their deaths.

In a released phone call from Oct. 7, a Palestinian Hamas member calling his parents, he proudly proclaims how he killed “ten of them” and how “their blood is on my hands.” His parents are overjoyed, and the father tells his son “I wish I were with you.” This is a culture that breeds child soldiers, not a culture that breeds doctors, lawyers, engineers, and artists. 

Hamas knowingly places their militants on top of schools, hospitals, and mosques, knowing that if they are hit, they can blame Israel for the deaths. The Al Shifa hospital bombing was a result of a misfired rocket from Hamas that boomeranged back at the hospital, and even Al Jazeera found the truth before covering it up. 

Children cannot be martyred as, under international law, child soldiers are illegal. And so, if they classify the children as those who fight for the cause, they are glorifying the breaking of international law. 

These children are victims of Hamas, who spent decades building terror tunnels now used to hide their troops and keep the hostages hidden. 

They are the official government of Gaza, but they cannot do anything as essential as keep children safe from an enemy state. 

While Israel has thousands of bomb shelters, Palestinian civilians have none. Plenty of tunnels can be used for shelter but only for Hamas. If there weren’t bomb shelters and an iron dome to protect Israeli civilians, the Israeli government would be just as at fault as Hamas is for Palestinian deaths. 

While the Israeli government provides accommodations for civilians who fled the south to hide from more attacks from Hamas and Hezbollah, Hamas steals aid and supplies and upsells them on the black market. 

These children are not martyrs because they did not make the choice to become martyrs. They are the sacrificial lambs of the Palestinian national agenda. If these Palestinian activist organizations want to be taken seriously, they should not be using words that implicate the Palestinian people in their own deaths.

Ari Sorokin can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Ari Sorokin
Ari Sorokin, Reporter
Dogs are Ari Sorokin's first true love and caring for them is his pride and joy. He loves keeping an active and creative lifestyle through his passion of drawing, writing and yoga. Sorokin is also a bit crazy about Indian culture.

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