Two years after this picture was taken, I moved across the world. In an airplane with my father, from China to Sweden. My mother met us at Stockholm airport and we took a taxi to our apartment. I went to daycare. I went to school. I learned to swim, to bike, to speak the language. I left a part of my family in China, but I can go visit them every summer. I became a Swedish citizen. I don’t know when I got my passport, or how I got my passport. It was never my problem.
In Sweden, I learned about human rights. I learned that many children move across the world. In inflatable boats across the Mediterranean Sea. Some of them arrive with their parents, some arrive alone.Families are torn apart. Some children don’t arrive at all. These are children who no country wants to recognize or protect, who are pushed between the member states of the EU, who are sent back to poverty, persecution and war.
I was a child with almost everything.
Why are our lives so different?
This is my problem.
2014-11-20: Today is the Universal Children’s Day, and the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The convention that states that all children should be protected from discrimination, that the welfare of the child should be kept in primary consideration, that all children have right to life and prerequisites for development. Yet, approximately 300’000 children are actively participating in armed conflicts (UNICEF). Around 60 million primary school aged children are not enrolled in school (UNESCO), and around half of the over 50 million refugees/displaced of the world are children (UNHCR).
Children should not be fighting – no one should.
Children should not be fleeing – no one should.
Children should play, learn and influence the world. And we have to join forces to make that happen.
Let children be children, let humans be humans.