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Tehran's Child beggars

By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

We usually witness in Tehran's streets, at the traffic lights, a barrage of small children, teenagers, young and old men and even women dressed often in rags and tatty clothes, selling or rather forcing people to buy something from them; or even worse they just beg the people, with a very sad and pleading voice, to give them something for their dinner! And people usually feel sorry for them and find their situation too heartbreaking; they get upset about this and naturally turn into their pockets, willingly or unwillingly, perhaps driven by an inner voice or conscience or political philosophy, and there is an exchange. They may buy something from them, thinking that this may help them. What many do not realize is that such acts of kindness perpetuate and do not change the status quo. I think that this is the worst in the case of innocent children. Their 'Masters' find it profitable to bring in more children to such shameful life and make them work like that.

My heart sickens and I want to scream as these children are denied homes, schools and a sense of security and love as well as a normal and carefree childhood. They enter adulthood at tender ages, which scars their souls permanently.

Therefore, whenever I pass these unlucky souls, like Bertholet Brecht I find myself in a dilemma. Should I or should I not help these God's innocent children? Do I have the right to make a statement at their expense, and if I do not give in to my softer side, does it help them really?

photo: Farrin Rahimi, 2002

It is obvious that they need a home where normal children learn to love and to be loved; where they are fed, educated, learn to play and be creative and are encouraged to laugh, so that their souls as well as their body matures. These delicate young humans, like all our children, need it so that they will not continue to carry like this for the rest of their lives. This is a very grave and serious issue. Many NGOs in Iran work for children and their well-being. However, this is not enough. It must become a criminal act not to send a child to school, anywhere in the country. Somehow, the irony kills me and I do not know to if I should laugh or cry, as we need to get a permit to have anything, or do anything except when it comes to bringing new lives into this world. Someone would probably ask me if I have a solution for this. To be honest, I do not know. Nevertheless, I know this is wrong. What do you think?

... Payvand News - 12/1/03 ... --

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