The Children of Istanbul

The children of Istanbul are much like most of the children in the world.  They have parents who take care of them, send them off to school scrubbed clean and well-fed.  Happy, laughing, running and playing after they have finished their studies.  Smiling, fighting, tumbling in the grass, going home for dinner, falling asleep and getting ready for tomorrow.

But there are the children who are hungry, dirty and not getting what they need.  In some parts of Istanbul, children wander through the parks and shopping areas selling small packs of tissue, or cheap trinkets or sometimes just asking for money outright.  They should be in school in the middle of the day, or at home having dinner in the early evening.  I saw a boy, maybe 7 or 8 years old, sitting on a sidewalk in the early evening, playing a flute for “donations.”  I dropped a U.S. dollar in his box, and the boy with the flute look at my dollar with disdain, having no idea that it was worth 2 Turkish lira. 

Other children are huddled with their mother and father, all of them dirty, probably hungry and definitely sad.  They do not beg for money; they do not beg at all.  They just sit, ragged and dignified and barely alive; certainly not fully living.

Human beings should never have to suffer like that.  Children deserve to be cared for, cared about, and protected. 

Humanity has an important journey to complete.


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