My mom told me when she was a child, growing up in a village in the German countryside, she hid under her desk. Her family lived in a cramped apartment over a bakery, where the smells of bread fresh out of the oven rose to their window every morning. Her dad was the village postman; but elsewhere his countryman marched to war. So the school kids hid under the desks, fearing Allied bombs that fell astray. Indeed, the hotel down the street and the church were hit by bombs before it was over, reducing them to rubble.
We saw bodies rain from the sky on 9/11. And after Newtown, we’re not even sure that hiding under desks really helps. I sped down to that tranquil Connecticut hamlet that day because my sister lives there, with three kids in a different school. They had to hide under their desks that day, too. They’re all right, but everyone knew someone…
A lot of children around the world never even get the opportunity to hide under a desk, go to school, or even live indoors. They drink from puddles. They eat the trash. Their youth is stolen by nightmares of barbed wire. They dance and play in fields of landmines.
In Nigeria, they stole our daughters and we do nothing but hold press conferences. In India, grown men rape our little sisters, burn them and hang them from trees. Syria. Venezuela. Egypt. If you listen close enough, the crack of the whip against bent backs still echoes in the Americas.
But instead, we torture their peace and call it politics. And we curse our children by teaching them our own hatred.
Who are these cowards who do this to our children? Grown men. Always men, decomposing in the stench of their own power. Soulless, lying to the mirror that they’re fighting for some noble cause. That’s who places AK47’s in tiny hands and forces them to kill their own parents, who gives the order to truncheon unarmed protestors and bomb marathons. They’re the ones who trade a million lives for a million dollars before breakfast, and never eat lightly.
But you can’t hide from us forever. There is too much truth, too much light, too much love. We will win. So come out from the shadows and stand before God for your judgment. And then maybe we’ll have a generation who knows only what it’s like to sit peacefully at their desks, not hide beneath them.