There is something more than uncomfortable about ‘watching’ innocent children getting killed. Heck, most young children are ‘innocent’. More so when they are caught up in a living hell that they aren’t really old enough to understand. And they are only 7 years old.
There appears to be a relatively tiny part of East Aleppo with innocent unarmed civilians living, no, surviving, in it. This includes hundreds of unaccompanied children. They are hiding in the remains of houses there, as the war wages outside. No medicine can get through. No food can get through. Only bombs. The air is filled with the constant drone of aircraft. There’s no warning that a bomb has been dropped until it explodes.
Bodies are left where they fall. If they are alive yet trapped in the rubble, there’s nobody who can help them. They suffer and slowly die where they are trapped.
Social media and communications are patchy. Those with solar chargers manage to get enough phone battery charge to get a few posts or texts out. Watching them reporting as their comfortable homes change from not too dissimilar to those in the Western world, into rubble, and then makeshift shelters wherever they can run to. Watching them recording in a bedroom with dollies in the background and colouring-in books on their laps, wearing clean clothes, slowly morphing to wearing the same clothes, with colouring-in books long gone, dollies incinerated. Reporting hunger and thirst. Reporting members of the family injured and killed. Something that 7 year olds shouldn’t be having to speak about, let alone experience.
Tales of women and children being found shot dead where they were hiding in houses, with no mercy, no second thought, filter back out from the tiny few who witness the human remains just left there to rot.
And so, over the last 24 hours as the bombing closed in and there was nowhere to go, civilians are concentrated into a tiny area of a couple of square kilometres. As the area reduces, so does the number left alive.
Those that know that they are about to die, and have been able to do so, have been saying goodbye via social media.
Is there anything sadder than a 7 year old saying goodbye before she’s about to be blown to pieces?