Children of War

Part of the Global Perspectives on War and Peace Collection.

0:00Copy video clip URL Students from war-torn countries (including Lebanon, Iran, El Salvador, South Africa, and Mexico) gather at Beverly Hills High School and speak in an auditorium about the situations in their native countries.

0:28Copy video clip URL A student from Beverly Hills High School named Sonia describes how fortunate we are in the United States to be able to practice civil disobedience without the threat of torture. She warns, however, that war-like situations are going on in our cities across the country, and that we need to keep working to improve things.

1:45Copy video clip URL A student from Lebanon (Paola) recalls, “I am here to tell you about the situation in my country. The situation is so bad – there has been a war for 15 years… There is no water, no electricity, no gas and…” At this point she is overcome with emotion and is unable to continue for a period of time. She recovers and begins again. “In my country there are no places to go, we are afraid to go to any place because of the shelling. One day we go to school, one week we stay at home.” At this point she loses control again and trails off.  “We need your help to change this world. Because we are the future. And together we can change the whole world in peace.”

4:18Copy video clip URL Sherry from Iran lists all the family members and friends she has lost due to bombing in her country. “Right now I just feel so much pain here [points to heart]… Every time I hear the stories [of the other students] I just want to do something about it. I’m living in the United States now, but there are people that are going back to their country… And they still have the same problem.” She becomes overwhelmed and says she cannot talk right now, and sits down.

5:45Copy video clip URL A man comes and announces that the next student to speak, from South Africa, cannot be photographed or named in articles to protect her safety when she returns home. Her face is obscured on the videotape. “In the country where I’m from I’m not allowed to say what I’m going to say now.” She begins to describe the racism in her country, and also becomes overcome with emotion. “I want to tell you what I have done wrong. I’m not black because I wanted to be black. I’m black because I’m black! I did not choose myself… I want to assure you that even if I’m black, I’m a human being! Even if I’m black, I have the potential, I have the ability! The country where I’m from is a country whereby I’m not taken seriously… to be a human being. There are things I cannot say. I cannot even question them because of the color of my skin.”

7:48Copy video clip URL The Children of War Conference at the University of Southern California. Small groups of students discuss how they can bring about peace and the importance of education to prevent future wars. One girl says that she felt that having young people speak to them about world issues made them seem much more real and important. Another girl interjects, “Because we believe that the people who suffer most from war are children. They don’t have any say… It’s the adults who make the decisions… In the future, when I’m an adult, I’ll realize that if I decide to wage war against El Salvador, it won’t be against El Salvador, it will be against Douglas and his relatives and his uncle and whoever, and by doing that we’ll be educating and hopefully creating peace.”

9:53Copy video clip URL A meeting begins with students from Roosevelt High School. The students are asked which problems in their school need to be addressed. A Latino student describes the fatalistic attitude of many of his fellow students who have the attitude that “You’re not gonna make it, so why try?” The leader describes a demonstration at another high school where the students protested racism and eventually led several problem board members to resign. She encourages these students to organize to improve their conditions. “Everyone deserves an equal education. And that’s what we’re going to fight for.”



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