A message from Children First to CLAE, Congress of Latin American Students

April 2000

"When you look into a child's eye you expect to see hope, trust and innocence, but when you see these signs of childhood are replaced by betrayal, hunger, child labour, fear, prostitution and suspicion, we need to take a serious stock of ourselves and the society which has been created for us."

Please accept my best and genuine greetings on behalf of the Children First organization.

I am glad to be here as a CF representative. Please let me first thank all those activists who organized this seminar and wish all of them success.

Dear friends:

On behalf of Children First, I protest the United States’ sanctions against Cuba and condemn the United States’ tension to impoverish Cuba. Everybody knows that numerous children and youth in Cuba have fallen the victims to the brutal and inhumane tensions of the United States. There is no doubt that the United States is directly responsible for these tragedies and we support the people of Cuba and their struggles against these tensions. We declare our solidarity to Cubans.

The issue of children and youth is now one of the most important problem all over the world. We are all witnessing the governments’ negligence and lack of attention regarding children and youth in different countries. Let me for a moment take you out of this hall and mention some examples of horrendous conditions involving children and youths in other countries.

In Iran, the country in which I was born, Khomaini and the Islamic Republic of Iran, with a superstitious promise and key to the heaven, recruited, deployed and killed thousands of children and youths in the mine fields during the war with Iraq. Imprisonment, torturing and the execution of children are legal and are a daily practice of their lives.

Under the Islamic canon in Iran, the legal age of marriage for girls is 9 years. Such a practice in Europe or any western society would be prosecuted as child abuse and rape. In Iran, free relationship between girls and boys are illegal and voluntary sexual relationship will cause death penalty for the partners involved.

In the neighbouring country of my birthplace, Iraq, thousands of children were killed by the United States and its allies invasion, bombardments and sanctions; according to a published statistic from UN, five thousand children are die monthly because of economic embargo and lack of basic medicine, milk and food.

NATO invasion and bombardment of Yugoslavia caused the deaths of thousands of ordinary people, including children and youth.

You all remember horrible tribal war in Rwanda. Half a million human beings were eradicated within a month- the main slaughtered population being children and youths.

According to another published statistic from UN, 24000 people die daily from hunger; three quarters of these deaths are children. Only conflict or famine causes 10% of these fatalities, 90% are due to malnutrition and starvation.

It is impossible to recount the tragedies that have become a reality in the lives of our children all over the world. The local police continuously kills the homeless and street children in Brazil. There are hundred thousands of children within the South East Asian countries that are traded for prostitution or their organs. Female infants are murdered in Asia. Millions of children are died due to starvation. These are horrifying facts that inflict the children of this world today. There is no doubt that capitalism is the source and cause of these tragedies.

Clearly, we must put an end to this situation! Mankind deserves a better. Children deserve a better life and a chance at brighter future. The only barrier to such a better world is capital and capitalistic rule. In capitalistic societies profitable businesses cause the starvation and death of millions of children. Deprivation of education, health care and security are realities for children living within these societies. Children, undoubtedly, are the most vulnerable victims of capitalism.

We, the majority of the world workers and employees do not have any benefit from supporting such a barbaric system as such. It is to wellbeing of all that capitalism be over turned. We must topple down capitalism and its current rulers in order to fight for a world free from oppression, cruelty, ignorance, religion, war and senseless killings. We must work together to build a world in which laughter, happiness, entertainment, health are obtainable for all. A world that offers a clear and bright future for all children and youth. This and only this should be the basis for the improvement and progress of our society. We must commit ourselves to this social movement and play an active part of this effort necessary to build such a better world. We are assured support of millions of noble people in our way of struggle.

Friends and comrades!

The only clear alternative to the complicated capitalistic tragedies is the socialism of workers- a socialistic society- an equal and free society in which all human beings are treated equally and worth and are granted the opportunity of a humane life, where all humane strives for prosperity.

Long live socialism

Salah Irandoust

Children First, International Campaign for Children’s Right