A destroyed residential apartment complex in Gaza after an Israeli air strike.
A destroyed residential apartment complex in Gaza after an Israeli air strike. Credit: Palestinian News & Information Agency (Wafa) in contract with APAimages Credit: Palestinian News & Information Agency (Wafa) in contract with APAimages

According to latest reports women, children and newborns in Gaza are disproportionately bearing the heaviest burden of the escalation of hostilities. Most of the hospitals and emergency medical centers have been bombarded and destroyed. As of now, according to Ministry of Health data, more than 11,500  Palestinians including 2,641 women, 4,104 children and 611 elderly people have been killed in the Gaza strip, while thousands more have been injured. The number of deaths and casualties may not be absolutely accurate but according to the World Health Organization (WHO), they reflect the level of death and injury.

We cannot also forget the pain of the families of 1,400 Israelis killed by Hamas.

For now,if we ignore all conflicting emotions and political views of Israelis and Palestinians,the UN resolutions ,and look at the issue from a humanitarian point of view, it is extremely painful. Humanity is being humiliated. The worthlessness of human life is visible, when we see the miseries of non combatant children and women in Gaza.

We can see an easy comparison to the atrocities committed against Jewish children and women by Nazis, now we are watching a replay in our times. Jews got a small piece of land after centuries of discrimination and hate, and still they don’t have peace.

The news and pictures appearing in the media are nerve shattering. I saw a picture of a five-year-old child taking his cat out after the destruction of his house in Gaza. This child himself needed love. Love and compassion are necessities not luxuries.

Gaza has become a “graveyard” for children with thousands now killed, while more than a million face dire shortages of essentials and a lifetime of trauma ahead. UN relief chief Martin Griffiths said that what they have endured since the start of Israel’s retaliation for Hamas’ deadly October 7 attacks is “beyond devastating”.

Andrew Phillips wrote in the Toronto Star last Saturday: “Anderson Cooper of CNN spoke to an American nurse Emily Callahan last week who had just returned from Gaza after working there with Doctors without borders.” Callahan described children with “massive burns down their faces, down their necks,down their limbs.” She said one camp has 50,000 people and four toilets. People, she said, are walking around with “fresh open burns, and wounds and partial  amputations’. It’s a vision of hell”.

What else do world leaders want to see to call for a complete ceasefire?

There were dozens to over one hundred Israeli hostages held in Gaza since October 7, some  have been released. About 30 of them are children. They are innocent.

Some important questions arise here;

Jews, Muslims and Christians are followers of Abraham, what does Abrahamic teachings tell us about children?

What the UN says about child protection?

What are world leaders doing to save children?

The old testament says in Isaiah 66:13 “A mothers love is deep and comforting.God created the family, and children are a gift from Him.” In fact, the Bible says that offspring are a reward from Him.

God says, to Jesus, children are as important as adults, and equally worthy of love (Mark 9:36–37; 10:16). Because of this, God cares about how children are raised and nurtured. Children are a gift from God.

Islam says, each child has the right to legitimacy and a good name. Furthermore, each has the right to shelter, maintenance, health care, and protection. They need love. They are very valuable.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Children says every child should be recognized, respected, and protected as a unique and valuable human being.

Nelson Mandela said, “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity”.

Those who have the influence and power to control this humanitarian crisis, and to stop this circus of death and torture were even reluctant to vote for ceasefire in the UN General Assembly, and Canada was among those who abstained.

Our prime minister, Justin Trudeau stopped halfway at cease——,  couldn’t complete the word ceasefire in his press briefing recently.

What can Canadians expect from this leadership?

At this point, If the world leaders compare brutality with compassion and cruelty with kindness, they should support a ceasefire and choose to stop the killing of innocent civilians to satisfy their conscience.

Weekly we are watching huge anti-war, pro-ceasefire demonstrations in major world cities. More than 25,000 filled Toronto’s downtown streets on Saturday, demanding a ceasefire. A local resident in Toronto, Yhaacub Hans says he can’t work, he can’t sleep. His thoughts are focused on his family and other civilians being killed in Gaza everyday.

We should remember, Canada is famous for her peacekeeping efforts, and “kind people are the best kind of people”. Ending Human suffering needs to be prioritized in everyone’s minds and hearts. There is nothing better than dialogue to resolve any issue. Fortunately we all, Christians, Jews and Muslims are followers of Abraham and place him at an esteemed position. We should listen to his message of humanity. Every human being is precious in the eyes of God.

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Mehdi Rizvi

Mehdi Rizvi is a former member of the Community Editorial Board, Toronto Star and an affiliate of the Center of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement, which is a consortium of three...