STIRRING VIGIL FOR KILLED PALESTINIAN CHILDREN
By: Khanyisani Dlomo
As Women’s Day celebrations commenced throughout the country, many from the greater Durban community chose to remember the hundreds of Palestinian children who have lost their lives in Gaza.
It was an emotional and sombre moment when a list of the names of children under the age of 16, who died during Israeli’s on-going attack on Gaza, was read at the Juniper Road Park on Saturday.
The names were collected from the Israeli Human Rights organisation – supporting a petition to the United Nations for an urgent solution. Among the dead were several children from the same family, and a seven-month-old baby who died along with seven family members in an air strike.
The killings raised the overall death toll in the Gaza Strip during the month-long hostilities to 1,915 the overwhelming majority of them civilians.
Fourteen-year-old, Hannaan Petter said she wishes she could adopt all Palestinian children.
“I imagine myself in the same situation, I feel so sad and want to cry. They are killing children like they don’t have hearts. I don’t understand how could they do that. We have to unite and do something,” said an impassioned Petter.
Ayesha Moola, 20, who recited a moving and powerful poem, said the killing of innocent children is infuriating.
“What’s happening in Palestine makes me angry and emotional. These are small children. They are targeting children because they are the future generation,” said teary-eyed Moola.
“It is even worse to those who survive the ordeal because they have to deal with post- trauma issues and some have lost their families. It’s heart-breaking,” added the University of KwaZulu-Natal student.
During the reading of names, candles were lit and later a moment of silence was observed.
The vigil organiser, Nina Butler decried the “disproportionate” killing of civilians.
“Regardless of the reasoning of invasion and the political environment prevalent when two entities enter into conflict, the number one thing is that innocent civilians should not be harmed,” Butler said.
“Disproportionate and shocking numbers of civilians who have nothing to do with politics are killed in this violence. I believe that every human being can agree that children under the age of 16 should not be the victims of violence.”