By Ravy Sophearoth,
Yeah, it’s finally December again and it’s time for CHRISTMAS, a joyful celebration for people, especially children. Christmas is one of the most popular and enjoyable days in my city Phnom Penh, Cambodia, even though most of us are Buddhists. Let me tell you why this day is so loved by everyone.
If we hang out together in town a few weeks before Christmas, we could see many Christmas trees standing in front of stores along the road. Christmas songs would play and accompany us in the coffee shop or shopping mall. Also, there would be a lot of special offers for candy and chocolate on sale. Moreover, if we take a trip to English or private schools in town, we would see that many schools celebrate Christmas with a party for their students. There would be music playing, children dancing, performances and gift exchanges. The children would look happy with the Christmas hats on their heads.
However… I wonder how people celebrate Christmas at the other side of the world in Yemen and other war-torn places… Will the children still enjoy this joyful celebration?
I wonder if the little kids at those places keep counting the days until Christmas or New Year in order to celebrate with their friends at school…
I wonder if the schools still open for their students with security, no sound of bombs but the sound of laughter and music…
I wonder if the families could enjoy their dinner together, mom giving dad a kiss and dad hugging the children; if little daughters and sons run with excitement to tear their gifts placed under the Christmas tree…
I wonder if Santa still rides his reindeer sleigh and bring gifts to the children in Yemen and other innocent kids who suffer from the effects of war on the other side of the world.
A UNICEF report about children in Yemen stated that,
“More than 5,000 children have been killed or injured in the violence – an average of five children every day since March 2015.
More than 11 million children now need humanitarian assistance – nearly every child in Yemen.
More than half of the country’s children don’t have access to safe drinking water or adequate sanitation.
An estimated 1.8 million children are acutely malnourished, including nearly 400,000 severe acutely malnourished children who are fighting for their lives.”
You might think that it is stupid to ask such a question during the happy celebration or even more stupid to ask how the Muslim kids celebrate another religion’s holiday. But I believe it is the best time to remind everyone that at the moment when half of the world is celebrating a thrilling moment, there are still millions of people and children who are suffering from war. We share the same world but why can’t we have the same opportunity for happiness?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want you all to stop being happy for your holiday but I wish that you would see that you’r living a good life. You’ve got time to celebrate any happy moment with your people, so embrace every moment with them. BUT if you don’t get to, don’t be upset! As long as you are able to read this blog, I assume that your situation is a bit better than other unfortunate children and people.
I have a wish that I whisper to Santa every year for Christmas, but this year’s wish will be louder than previous years because I will share it with you. “Dear Santa, I wish every innocent child and person on earth would be able to enjoy every moment of their Christmas and live peacefully in their everyday life. May you talk to the world leaders to stop fighting and bombing, and instead bring candies and peace to every human being on Earth regardless of their race, age, gender and religion.”
Tell me, what is your wish for this Christmas? May it all come true! Merry Christmas to you all and to all the children. May you live in peace and happiness!
Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.