Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tragedy in Belgium

The horrific events in Belgium yesterday have touched me deeply, particularly as I worked for the Toronto School Board in their LINC programme for five years. Our programme consisted of infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
Even after the children graduated from our programme, they oftentimes would come for a visit at lunch time and I remember one dear little boy called Ibrahim sitting on my lap on the rocking chair just cuddling. I remember another little angel jumping into my arms when he saw me at Center Island. Children are such a gift from God and adults are given the responsibility of caring for them.

I remember sounding the alarm when a man came to our back door, then peered into our windows. He was not one of our parents and I reacted immediately. I called the Principal and reported it.

The Principal shut the school down immediately, all classroom doors were closed, and no students were allowed out of the classrooms, even to go to the washroom. Three hefty male teachers patrolled the corridors and the man was located. It was a frightening experience as children are very vulnerable and cannot defend themselves. Since most day care workers are women as well, strength to fight off an intruder is somewhat limited.
I recall another time when all teachers and children had to go into the gym as there was a take-down just outside the school and shots were being fired. That also, was a frightening situation.

In the case of the incident in Belgium, it would appear that it is a private day care. Under normal circumstances, a well run day care center would be very safe for the children, as there are many rules and safeguards in place.

I do find it a little strange that a man made up in such a way, would be admitted to the Center.

Likely the worker thought he was a parent wishing to find out their rates and if space was available and this is why he was admitted. All business affairs would be transacted on the premises. She may have even thought he was a children's clown, just dropping in before going to work.

Can you imagine how she must be feeling now? Can you imagine the horror of the workers and the confusion of the little ones. I can and it breaks my heart. I see my "babies" in my classroom and visualize it all too vividly.

It would appear that this man may have mental health issues. Can you imagine how his parents and siblings are feeling now? I can.

What has caused him to do this horrendous act?

The innocents whose lives were taken from them in such a brutal way; the worker who tried to save them and lost her life as a consequence, the other workers who tried to protect the children, the parents and relatives, the nation of Belgium, all are victims through no fault of their own.

The question here is, how can we prevent such a thing from happening again, in any country in this hurting world.

What is the solution?

Brighter heads than mine have to rethink the safety issues here.


Ambition said...

You have poured your heart out as you have the first hand experience dealing with the situations and caring for children.

It's a violent society. How can someone kill innocent kids with smiling faces, unsuspecting trust and unconditional love. It is beyond me.

Also, we should not forget the hundreds of children just recently killed and maimed in Gaza by the biggest and stronges power in the Middle East.

World is helplessly watching and there is no one to come to help.

annaken said...

Dear Ambition,

Thank you for your very interesting comment on my blog.

You have a very valid point. So many children have been killed by starvation, by blockaids, by hostilities.

We must remember all the children in Iraq during the blockaid,not to mention the bombings, the innocent children who have been murdered due to their race in Africa, and the list, unfortunately could go on and on.

This day care incident is terrible and hits home to many people who may have their children in day nurseries. Sometimes, when tragedies are far away, people do not feel as touched as they would if it were similar circumstances as they are in.

I, personally, cannot understand how any human being can torture, abuse or harm anybody.

Murder is condemed by all religions that I am knowledgeable about.

As you say, it is beyond comprehension.