by: XHABIR DERALLA
Politics are toxic for adults, let alone for children. Involving children in the world of politics can cause permanent consequences to their development in every sense of the word. Indoctrination and involving children in political campaigns is pure abuse and violence. They are often used as cannon fodder for black propaganda. Institutions are turning a blind eye to the violation of laws in political campaigns, and thus providing impunity for those who use the dirtiest media-propaganda weapons that can be imagined.
When impunity, tolerance, and even approving of hate speech and spreading of ethnic, religious and racial hatred, and even open calls for liquidation and extreme violence can be noticed in society, it doesn’t mean that they should also tolerate political abuse of children. At least there they can react with the full force of the law.
Most people are convinced that children do not pay attention to politics and campaigns that are being led everywhere around them. They think that children don’t understand and are not interested in politics. That’s a mistaken opinion. On the contrary, they are like “sponges” and absorb every information that comes to them from conversations between adults, from the media, from the telephone display and computers in their hands, from the billboards around their playgrounds and schools. If there is any restriction to placing political propaganda material near schools, it’s not just for the purpose to avoid political influence on adults on election day, but precisely because of the children.
Children experience political messages and views much deeper that adults think. And the effect can be devastating. Perhaps they don’t know how the electoral system functions, like so many adults, and politicians actually don’t, but children do know the names of candidates running in elections and directly feel the tension of campaigns, from the slogans, from the polarization among people, regardless of whether they are politically active or are indifferent, whether they are voters or abstainers.
At the very least, children are intrigued, concerned or excited, but often political campaigns can cause anxiety as well, and other psychological problems in children. Reading these lines, some might cynically laugh, but this is so due to the total loss of a sense of responsibility towards children.
It’s not that children are not protected, let’s say with the Law on Protection of Children at home or with the Declaration of the Rights of the Child around the world, as well as with the care of conscientious parents, but politics are ever so present and aew continuously conquering the children’s world. The loss of childhood in security crisis and war fires is tragic. But also in societies where peace and stability rule, they are absorbed by the waves caused by political campaigns.
And all this refers to the influence of politics over children, without mentioning the destructive effects of black campaigns. How thoughtless and careless should parents be so as to involve their own children in black campaigns, is a case for psychiatric observation.
When parents instrumentalize their own children in a black campaign for political purposes of real thieves in politics, setting them as pins in front of their political balls, I wouldn’t be surprised if tomorrow they even put weapons in their hands and turn them into children soldiers. Because ultimately, it’s about the same principle.
But these are opposed “arguments” of the Macedonian rednecks that children had been used also during the protests against the regime or in campaigns for defending human rights and freedoms. Or the latest example, the black campaign that slanders President Pendarovski that he had been at the Pride Parade with his child, and that he had even taken children there too, which is not true, because they had already been there. The truth is that the President of the State visited the civic event for promotion of equality and non-discrimination, just as he would have attended a celebration on International Human Rights Day or Independence Day.
There is a difference.
Civic events and peaceful protests where progressive ideas and values are promoted, where citizens demand a better life, equality, non-discrimination and respect for human rights and freedoms, are a necessary part of building a political culture in which equality, freedom and justice are respected. Civic events and peaceful protests are one thing, while political campaigns are a totally different thing, especially ones where disinformation and hate speech are used.
When children are instrumentalized in black propaganda, when they are just a tool for promoting hatred and nationalism, when they are taught to hate someone just because they are different or because they think differently – that is trampling on children’s rights, that is abuse of the lowest kind. And violation of the laws.
Children must be protected from manipulations of political parties and from irresponsible parents who want to flatter political centers of power. Children must not be allowed to be a target or a means neither in elections, nor in other political purposes.
The logic is completely different when it concerns the right of children to be informed, according to their age, on topics in the area of society and culture. They have the right to be informed about the role of politics and political parties in shaping life in society.
Hence, children should be appropriately informed and educated about political and social topics, but not to be used!
How hard is it to understand that it is prohibited to use children in politics? It is a gross, unacceptable, immoral and unlawful abuse and violation of their rights.
The damages that children suffer from political abuse today, will be felt by the entire society in some ten years. In the meanwhile, they will become parents and educators. And just like that, indefinitely, society is sinking in destruction.
Translation: N. Cvetkovska