There is one thing evident and often recognised but not always admitted that humans tend to discriminate. Discrimination results in disharmony. Every human does discriminate in some way or the other: by country, territory, political beliefs, race, language, gender, social status and even age.
It seems, although discrimination is usually thought of being related to selfish interest and narrow-mindedness, yet it has its good sides too. For example, when it comes to a drowning ship, the women and children are given the first priority of boarding a lifeboat. Similarly, I would speak in favour of discrimination when it comes to the topic of children, considered in the broadest sense, that is, irrespective of race, religion or country.
The children, as we know, are foundations of the future. It is our duty to try our best to take care of children. But in the present world today, we get a different image from what we desire. Children all over the world and especially in Africa and parts of Asia are being deprived of their basic necessities of life such as food, clothing and shelter. Education, for many of them, is a mere dream.
When a hurricane like Katrina or Rita strikes, or when a catastrophe like the Tsunami takes place, concern in the minds of thousands emerge and then their efforts aim at providing relief to those affected. Funds are donated and concerts organised, and these are broadcast live on the television media. But then, with the elapse of time, these efforts slow down and fade, but the wounds of the affected do not heal. What then, are the technological advancements and progress in art, science and economics for, if they cannot relieve the victims of their suffering?
Very recently, many parts of Asia have been struck and devastated by major earthquake. Lots of people lost their lives and those who escaped the grips of death faced severe misfortune. Released footages of the post-earthquake situation exhibited the hardships of innocent little children who have lost their parents and how a seven year old struggled to take care of his younger siblings as all the older people of their family had died. In case of such children, we can, for a brief period of time help them to survive but can we help them to really "live" their lives? Can we ensure proper food, clothing, shelter, and standard education for them?
Scattered all over the world are children, affected by AIDS. These children are born to hear their death bell. They suffer for no fault of their own. If fate is the cause of their sufferings, blaming "fate" for hardships and misfortune is neither a solution nor an intelligent analysis but merely consolation. The ancient Chinese philosopher Mo Tzu spoke against the concept of "fatalism". He said that "Fatalism is a great calamity to the world" and "fatalists are not men who care for humanity". Thus the image of the world and the condition of the lives of the people living on it depends on our efforts and not "fate".
Evidences and instances of child labour still exist in many parts of the world. In our country we can see children participating in construction works, in the tanneries and various other factories and mills and doing other types of heavy work. Not only these, but children are often, in Bangladesh, seen selling newspapers and flowers all day on the roads under the scorching sun. What is even more shocking is the fact that in many Bangladeshi households, children working as domestic servants are cruelly treated. Cases of such domestic child workers being molested and sadistically beaten up are frequent. Child trafficking is a heinous crime, and a common one in Bangladesh. Recently, many Bangladeshi children were rescued and brought back to our country from the Middle-East, where they were trafficked for becoming camel jockeys. What can our society do for these children?
A penny or a note paid to them would not help build their future, although it may help them get a piece of bread. This is a matter of social awareness and in order to carry out the plans and efforts successfully, unity is important. The society as a whole, and not only few charitable organizations, should aim at taking effective initiative in building a foundation for these children so that they can receive proper healthcare and education and become self-dependant. Our efforts to alleviate poverty and to provide proper guidance and education to the underprivileged children should not be occasional but a continuous process. Children should always be considered as sovereign individuals and given special treatment and provided with healthy environment that would enable them to develop into healthy and good human beings.