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A Planet's Future Threatened by the Fate of Its Children


A Planet's Future Threatened by the Fate of Its Children

Karen Greenberg

“This is a war against normal life.” So said CNN correspondent Clarissa Ward, describing the situation at this moment in Syria, as well as in other parts of the Middle East. It was one of those remarks that should wake you up to the fact that the regions the United States has, since September 2001, played such a role in destabilizing are indeed in crisis, and that this process isn’t just taking place at the level of failing states and bombed-out cities, but in the most personal way imaginable.


I have the sense that there are few comments here because the reality is so devastating that readers look away, or lose attention while reading.

Alas, the reality is even worse than Ms. Greenberg encompasses here. For it is not only in such obviously devastated locales that we find terribly devastated children.

Far too many children in states we moderns ordinarily deem successful are suffering devastation before there is an ego self present to defray the damage. Many children all around us live in a chronic state of terror and despair, and reasonably perceive that there is little to no care or justice available to them.

Although the American Psyciatric Association has for decades refused to officially recognize it, complex post-traumatic stress syndrome plagues an ever-growing number of children of modernity. The sexual abuse of infants and children, the routine emotional, mental and spiritual abuse that passes for "normal" parenting, not to mention more overt forms of familial violence common right here, predispose kids to an overwhelming array of chronic dis-ease.

Familial trauma is the "gift" that keeps on giving. Unmetabolized by one generation, its stories continue to tell themselves through the epigenome. The resilience to trauma falls, and the tendency to perpetuate traumatizing behaviors rises, with each generation.

Unless and until we intervene.

There are ways to reverse the trauma tsunami even now. But doing so would require moderns to realize that a) trauma is global public health enemy number one, and b) many "routine and customary" aspects of modernity are inherently traumatogenic.

Do we love our kids and our Earth enough to look this mess straight in the eye, and commit ourselves to radical transformation? It's up to the person in the mirror, each day and each night, too.


A wonderful article, one that everyone needs to read and think about. It makes me sad, extremely so. It also makes me angry at our Nation's largely unquestioned policies and actions.

We should all feel a deep sense of shame, especially our so-called "leaders" and "elites".

I'm afraid that Dr. King was right 50 years ago, in predicting the "spiritual death" of our society.

We have many people who care. Unfortunately, they/we are largely ignored!


Your comment is wonderfully insightful! I agree 100%!


yes, the line "Unless and until we intervene" gave me pause, but i feel certain it's not a call to arms. that's what the empire means by those words. enough already!


The children who do survive war, famine, disease, mental and physical trauma, abuse, neglect,poverty and toxic environments will grow up damaged. They are our future, and they will be unable to fully participate in it. What are we doiing?


I've thought about my reactions to this article.

The first reaction: I feel so guilty because I am not helping.
The next reaction: I feel so angry that this is being done to so many helpless children.
The third reaction: Isn't this what has happened throughout the history of mankind?

Before there was language, man has killed in conquest or self-defense. No one recorded it at the time, so no one did anything about the species proclivity toward violence. But from the beginning of time, there have been children harmed by this violence.

About a year ago, I had a DNA analysis done--just out of curiosity--and found a few unlikely strains in my gene pool. I contemplated how it might have happened that I had such a diverse genetic makeup. I imagined the raids, wars, rapes, emigrations, etc., that contributed to my colorful DNA. I am the product of much probable violence, as we all are. We are all a melting pot of humanity. As the comment by lyalisa says, we need to look at what is closest to us. We can only help to change our immediate world in the end. Every day, try to help one child in need--who is standing near you. That is all that we can really do.

I have a christian "friend" who sends money to help the "starving children of Africa," and while I commend this person for their charity, I also know that this person regards all Muslims as "of the devil." I know a handful of people who think this way--which to me--means that there are many many thousands more who think this way. We are a species of and for conquest. We are a species that slaughters its own.

There will be survivors of this terror that has stricken our planet. Yes, they will be damaged--just as we all have been. Don't turn off to the pain of the world, but use it to motivate you to help the person next to you. That is all any of us can really do.


Karen, I don't want to live in a world where men eat while children starve, and I have a harder time of it everyday. I've gotten to the point where one of the things necessary for me to function is to face it squarely, because only from there can we fashion solutions that leave no one behind. Another necessary resource is hope founded on reason. Here is some: www.reconomy.net. I'd most like to take this solution into refugee camps, to replace that most insufferable standard of sustainable poverty with sustainable prosperity. Imagine that.


Only a call to arms embracing our True Selves, and thus, all our relations...


I appreciate the self-searching depth and candor in your comment.

I disagree that this violence must inevitably continue. We can grow beyong simply helping one another survive the next catastrophe.

We are more than we've imagined. So we must grow our imagination! Our capacity to hear the Dream within, and the courage, persistence, and discipline to embody it. Now, and now, and now....


Yes, that hope is always there--that dream that we can become everything good. The dream that we can change--I carry it in my heart and soul. I just pray it can happen before we destroy the human species on this planet. Everything can be different! I believe that. Will it happen in our lifetime? Can human consciousness be elevated enough to transform life--now?

Thank you for your lovely words...