Children: Our Hope for Peace

Taisoo Kim Watson, Queensland Regional Meeting

All life is interrelated. Each individual plant and animal has its own needs and is important to others.”~ Australia Yearly Meeting, Advices and Queries 44

During the Korean war, the trees and other wildlife were destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of people of all ages were killed or died of starvation or sickness.  Many children grew up in orphanages. I am one of the very lucky children who survived and did not lose my parents.

I started primary school in a tent. We sat on straw mats with little protection from the cold winter wind, snow, and rain.  The school buildings were occupied by the army for many years. We were very happy to receive beautiful textbooks produced with help of  UNESCO.

 We all thought Mr. UNESCO was a kind person who loved Korean children. 

I thank my Japanese Friends, Yukiko and Naomi, who encouraged me to visit Hiroshima in November 2010.

I was brought up in a war-torn country. I have visited many war memorial museums. But the sight of the rusty tricycle and the age of the child moved me.

Shinchi Tetsutami (3 years 11 months old) loved to ride his tricycle. That morning, he was riding in the front of his home when in a sudden flash; he and his tricycle were both burned. He died that night. His father felt he was too young to be buried in graveyard away from home, and thinking he could still play with tricycle, he buried Shinchi with tricycle in the backyard. In the summer of 1985, forty years later, his father dug up Shinchi’s remains and transferred them to the family grave. The tricycle and helmet, after sleeping for 40 years in the backyard with Shinchi, were donated to the Peace Memorial Museum.”

The child was the same age as my grandson, which made me so sad and angry, because we are still killing children.

The Korean War broke out in June 1950, less than five years after Hiroshima in August 1945.

Since then, more children have been killed and continue to be killed in war: Vietnam, Europe, the Middle East, and in our neighbouring territories of West Papua, Myanmar, and more places than we can list here.

Some years ago, when I was serving as the Chairman of the Lifeline DD and SW Queensland Board of Directors, I received a report of a three-year-old boy who survived for three or four days by eating and drinking whatever he could find in the house.  His mother passed out from alcohol and other substances. The house was far away from the main community.

Children live in unsafe and dangerous places, not only in countries where wars are happening, but sometimes even at home.

I thank the peace workers of Friends Peace Team for their dedication helping children learn through the Power of Goodness events that are spreading throughout South East Asia and around the world.

Some have lost their parents, sisters, brothers or whole family.  Later on they would be recruited as soon as they can carry guns.

The peace workers are planting seeds of goodness, hope, and peace in their hearts, very small seeds in the children’s big hearts. As these seeds grow into strong plants, they help other children.

Rejoice in the presence of children and young people in your meeting and recognise the gifts they bring.” ~ Australia Yearly Meeting, Advices and Queries 21

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