Inner Child by Alexander Milov at Burning Man 2015

It’s okay to be heartbroken for more than one group of people at the same time.
~ Facebook meme

The estimate is that more than 5000 Gazan children have died so far in this war. Many more are buried in rubble, yet others are wounded physically, especially burned, and all are wounded psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I have seen many images that have left me heartbroken but there was one image in particular in a CNN video that really moved me: An older man (relative? stranger?) is holding a child who is perhaps two or three years old. The child looks malnourished and small for whatever age he is. They are just at the entrance of a hospital. As the man, with the child in his arms, rages at the camera, the child has his thin, frail arms tightly wound around the man’s thick, leathery neck. He’s tightly holding on for dear life – literally. The child’s big eyes – like in a Margaret Keane painting – are focused directly at the camera. Thus, we can see how terrified and traumatized he clearly is. Then he tenses up his face, opens his mouth, and begins to cry. Except no sound comes out. 

I found myself wondering: If he physically survives this travesty, what would he be doing as a young man twenty years from now? Would he find some peace amidst his trauma? Would he be an enemy like those who bombed his home? Would he be studying to be a doctor like the one who attended him that day?

I plan to hold him and pray for him every day for the rest of my life. For me, he is a representative, a symbol, of all of the children who are suffering as a result of adult hatred and violence – no matter which ‘side’ of the war they happen to be on. Children do not know national boundaries, political views, or decades of ongoing conflict. In fact, they know the opposite. Somewhere inside they experience all land as sacred, all relationships as sacred, all thoughts and feelings as sacred, all hopes and dreams as sacred.


I watched a CNN interview with a Doctor Without Borders volunteer on Thursday, 11/2/23. I’ve transcribed a bit of it so that, together, we may witness what is happening.

CNN anchor, Paula Newton:

“Doctor Tanya Haj-Hassan [in Jordan] is a pediatric care intensive care humanitarian doctor with Doctors Without Borders. Last hour I asked her what she’s hearing from her colleagues in Gaza.”

Caption under speaker: Palestinian Officials: 16 hospitals in Gaza out of service

Dr. Tanya Haj-Hassan:

“We’re having children come in with the majority of the bodies and faces burned. Some of their digits have melted away, limbs are missing. I mean, just catastrophic injuries, really horrifying injuries. And the doctors are left to treat them with limited pain control, running out of anesthetic drugs, too many patients requiring the operating room so we’re not able to get the patients in in the speed they need to go in, and not enough post-operative space to care for them. We don’t have enough antibiotics to treat wound infections, we don’t have enough dressings. 

And I want to give you sort of a picture of what that means for a child, for example, who’s coming in with the majority of their body burned. That is a very extremely, exquisitely painful injury. And if you don’t have adequate pain control for it, that child is going to suffer. If you don’t have adequate dressings you cannot appropriately clean those wounds so that they remain clean. And if you don’t have appropriate anesthetics, every single time you do the dressing changes, the child is going to wail in pain and is going to experience levels of pain that are completely inhumane. 

“And I’m using the words of doctors who are describing what they are having to do – having become completely stripped of all of the tools to modern medicine to take care of these horrific injuries. They are saying it is inhumane. It is unbearable, it is intolerable.”