Their Loss of Innocence. Our Shame.

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Following Reading PSC’s January exhibition of Gazan Children’s Art at Reading library, the exhibition continued around the UK. Here’s a report from Elizabeth Morley at Aberstwyth PSC after their recent show:

Loss of Innocence, Aberystwyth - photo: Nida Shoughry

An exhibition of Gazan children’s art compiled by Rod Cox was on display in the Officers Club Gallery, Aberystwyth, 12-17 July.

On Friday evening Rod gave a talk about the pictures, which communicate the children’s experience of death and destruction, the loss of their childhood.

The continuous bombardment (from 27th December 2008 to 18th January 2009) of this narrow strip of land, where 1.5 million people live caged in by barbed wire, was devastating. Of the 1,400 killed almost 300 were children. Those who didn’t die will bear the physical and psychological scars for the rest of their lives.

When we hear of people suffering our hearts go out to them; we reach into our pockets and we want to help. When the victims are Palestinian, we find obstacles to giving aid, and what is worse, even to voicing our compassion. What, asked Rod, are Palestinians to make of it that when they are injured the world seems to look the other way?

photo: Nida Shoughry

That the tide may at last be turning could be inferred from remarks made by the two guest speakers. Cross-party co-operation at the National Assembly on the issue of Palestine was referred to by Elin Jones AM. Although foreign policy, she pointed out, wasn’t devolved to Wales, that didn’t deter her colleagues from discussing the situation in Gaza, for example. Raising awareness was important, she said.The role of education was emphasized also by Mark Williams MP. Teachers here, he said, could help children understand that children in Palestine long for a sign of recognition and friendship even more than aid. He hoped that schools in Wales would be encouraged to twin with schools in Palestine.

photo: Sue Young

Thanks to UNWRA and charitable organisations, Rod explained, laptops and computers are available to schools in Gaza and the West Bank. Language isn’t a problem, either, as many teachers know enough English to enable the children to exchange simple emails. He mentioned the Britain-Palestine Twinning Network, which is there to help schools make the link.

For anyone who missed the exhibition here, it will be in Bangor Cathedral from 18-23 July before it goes on up to Manchester Cathedral from 24 July to 7 August.

Read about Aber PSC and see more photos from the event on their “Get 2 Know a PSC” page.

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