Shame on us on Children’s Day

Shame on us on Children’s Day

Shall we start with the report from the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK) titled “Being a Child Laborer in Turkey,” on the occasion of April 23 National Sovereignty and Children’s Day? 

Here are some notes from the report that was issued a couple of days ago: We have approximately 2 million children involved in child labor. Official figures cover the age group of children between 15 and 17; while those children under 15 who work like slaves, especially in the agricultural sector, are not covered; there is no data on them. 

According to the Social Security Institution (SGK), the number of children registered as “apprentices” was 401,164 in 2015; whereas in 2016, this figure went up to 1,170,000. 

Among the working children plus those who are forced to work, eight out of 10 are not registered; thus, they have no social security and any other rights either.  

In 2012, the number of child laborers who lost their lives in work-related accidents was 32. In 2016, however, the number of victims went up to 56. 

The rights of these children were not sought; they just died and were gone. There were no measures taken to prevent further similar deaths. 

Nobody questioned the mentality: “There are plenty more children to replace them.” Let alone resigning – which is absolutely not among our ancestral traditions – there was none who blushed with shame.  

Well, since we are not able to protect working children; are we able to protect the ones we send to school in this “paradise country” of ours? 

For instance, are we able to protect children attending schools from abuse? Most of the incidents do not even get covered on “mainstream media” if the number of abused children is not “many.” 

Victims of abuse 

In institutions that are responsible with “protecting” those children, we entrust them to people; among them are certain vile ones who harass these children.  

We have a shame list, which is getting longer and longer each passing day, from a pervert grandfather to a neighbor to a school janitor… 

In some cases, let’s assume the abuser is caught and proven guilty. The penalties they receive and the reductions for these penalties make one say “God damn it.” 

The issues related to children are always kept at the sidelines as snacks. They are to be used in the attack/defense line for “daily use as political material.” Let us be honest; nobody is lifting a finger for a permanent solution. 

Are we able to provide proper education for our children? 

The results and our international standings are known to everybody. 

We have an outdated, illogical education system that is based on memorizing, sitting exams and grading. For decades, our education system has been programmed to raise generations suitable to the mentality in power…

We cannot teach foreign languages, we cannot make children love science; the curriculum is filled with epic-heroism that is constantly poked and changed.  

Yesterday was April 23. 

We have converted this valuable holiday to dress children up, to celebrate it according to the taste of grownups, sit the children at the seat of top position holders and ask them silly grownup questions only to receive childish answers and have fun with it. 

Children are labored like slaves; they are trying to be “molded” in an awful education system. They are being abused; they are subjected to violence. 

And then, when April 23 comes, children are sent to serve as ointments to wounds that do not hurt the consciences of the grownups. 

Yesterday was April 23. We should have been quite ashamed, not festive about it.