Innocence Betrayed; Using Girls with Down Syndrome as Suicide Bombers
Monday, February 04, 2008 @ 8:47 AM
Rarely am I at a loss for words. My deep commitment to persons with Down syndrome and other challenges is so ingrained in me that words come naturally…most of the time. This morning, as I read about the newest suicide bombers in Iraq, I had no words. Only hurt and the sense that globally, we have so much work to do. I am confounded here because Band of Angels and I have consistently advocated for the world to see the similarities, not the differences, between persons with Down syndrome and themselves. Now I must take a moment and focus on the difference. Two young women with Down syndrome were used as "suicide" bombers. I would contend that they were indeed "homicide" bombers. If a young woman with Down syndrome had been asked to wear a pretty vest made of special material, she might do it - with an innocent trust in the person who asked her. Had she been told her actions would kill many people, she would have said "no."
No one segment of the population is better than another, and yet, I feel compelled to say this: those young ladies were victims and their voices must be heard now. I am sure those voices would have said "no" had their mission been articulated to them. These kind and loving women were pawns in sectarian violence and it is heart breaking that such innocents would be used in such a heinous manner.
Peace to all of you and we ask your prayers for all of the victims in the most recent tragedy in Iraq. I will continue to encourage you to see the capabilities of people with Down syndrome, but that capability does not extend to suicide bombing. These women were among the tragic victims of a cowardly act.