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Do we want a country built on the deaths of children?

Leaders on both sides must step back from the blame game, begin a process of soul-searching and start talks on finding a solution

A four-year-old boy and his sister, aged six, in Bangkok's Ratchaprasong; the five-year-old girl in Trat province. They were too young to understand anything about the political war being waged by adults who claim to have so firm a grasp on "right" and "wrong".

These children should have grown up to enjoy the fruits of a "mature" democracy. They should have had the chance to prosper and flourish under a system free from political corruption, headed by a leader who is focused on justice for all.

Instead, their lives came to a bloody, abrupt end while they were accompanying their parents on a shopping trip or helping them out on a street-side stall.

Children are the future of this country. Adults have the responsibility to raise them in peaceful, loving surroundings that foster an optimistic and creative approach to the world. Education should equip them with knowledge and wisdom, creating smart citizens who are able to help move the country forward.

Instead, they are being subjected to the darkest side of adult human nature, victims of the brutality of warring sides fighting each other over murky and confused objectives.

So far three children have been killed in this war. The brutality, cowardliness and inhumanity of those directly responsible for the attacks cannot be condemned strongly enough.

But they were also manifesting a more widespread inhumanity, evidenced by the reaction to the childrens' deaths on both sides of the political crisis. Instead of sympathy, deep dismay and soul-searching, there was furious pointing of fingers.

Rather than taking any responsibility for failing in its duty to keep the public safe, the government blamed the protesters, as well as the courts for banning officials from enforcing the emergency decree.

The protesters were no better, pinning the blame on the government and demanding that the caretaker prime minister step down and hand power to them. Rather than thinking their strategy could pose further risk to people's lives, protesters preferred to use the tragedy as a political bargaining chip.

Each side condemned the other's attempt to shift the blame, but neither looked at itself to discover why the children had died.

If killing children is the means by which one side of the political war will forge our future, then that future is worth less than nothing.

The killing must end now. It is time for the conflicting parties to take stock and begin a process of soul-searching over the question of why our children have to die. Will their deaths really help this country develop?

To the leaders on both sides: dump your personal ambitions and fear of losing "face". It's time to begin talks to find solutions. One death is too much; the killing of three children is unbearable.


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