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Toys with boys.

This expression was often made when talking about some men and their thirst for using arms and getting into wars. But this time I am saying this as a reaction to the number one toy bought during the Eid celebrations across the country for boys in Yemen: guns. Of course toy guns but they were everywhere and many shapes and models. I have seen the small pistol, the rifle with ammunition belts and many other types I don't know their names. There were street wars, espionage plots and raids.. .the boys were so whole heartedly into the violent game like I have never seen before. I have even seen some girls dragged into the battle grounds unlike the traditional stereotype that guns are for boys. This says something. Not only does it show how the conflict in the country has gotten into the psyche of its children but it also means that there is a market exploiting this market. All the toy weapons were made in china and obviously imported by Yemeni businessmen. We used to have toy guns before but the variety and abundance this year is surprising. Also I have seen many broken guns in the streets where children play. I suppose the make was bad and the boys were a little aggressive with their toys. Moreover, this year the children have easy access to all kinds of fireworks. Previously it was banned because of its risks on the children using them. But since they were used extensively to celebrate every time the president comes on TV, the fireworks dealers found it an opportunity to import more and more to make a quick buck. It is an important issue in our children's development and we need to notice it and give it the attention it deserves. There will be a generation of Yemeni children who will look back on 2011 not only as a year for Arab spring, but most importantly as a year of violence and conflict, especially those directly affected by it. This is not a new theory; we are already seeing the consequences in Iraq where the children who had lived through armed conflict in the last decade turned out to be aggressive insecure adults. It is visible in the African horn and I am sure Libyan children will also suffer. The longer instability in any country stays the deeper the psychological impact it leaves on the communities going through it. We really need to make interventions, provide our children with positive constructive outlets especially those that encourage self expression. And please, before you buy your child a toy gun think again.

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Publication:Yemen Times (Sana'a, Yemen)
Date:Sep 12, 2011
Words:451
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