Children in Gaza are already terrified and could be traumatised for generations

Our readers have their say on the words of the UN Secretary General and the long-term effects of war

Palestinians queue to buy bread from a bakery, amid shortages of food supplies and fuel, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, on October 22. Reuters
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Antonio Guterres made a valid point

With reference to Adla Massoud's article Israel condemns UN's Antonio Guterres for remarks on Palestinian plight (October 24): Bravo, Mr Gutteres is absolutely right. He has always come across as a great and very just man.

Krystyne Rachel Bedziri, Abu Dhabi

That's how a UN chief has to be – honest and compassionate.

Ada Adib, Cairo, Egypt

Correct to the letter. All UN resolutions on the Palestine issues must be recognised and enforced. The world is watching.

Carlton Gray, Port Antonio, Jamaica

Wars are pointless. Starting them is easy. Ending them is more complicated and no one knows how. The violence and its effects last decades, tormenting and traumatising generations.

Zarmina Ijaz Ul Haq, Lahore

The solution to ending generational trauma is peace

With regard to Anjana Sankar's report Thousands of pregnant women in Gaza do not have health care, UN says (October 17): I was born and raised in post-war Cyprus. Growing up in a war-torn country can have profound and lasting effects on a child's development, which it definitely did on me. The experiences and challenges I faced in my childhood shaped my worldview, emotional well-being and overall development, as it routinely does for children in conflict zones. Growing up in a displaced family and my education in psychology has taught me that we should demand peace. Choosing peace and unity is not always easy, but it is the path for the well-being of our children.

Generational trauma, particularly in the aftermath of war, leaves an indelible mark on people and societies. As a psychologist, I know the pain and suffering endured by previous generations can become deeply ingrained in the collective consciousness, perpetuating a cycle of trauma and preventing true healing. The pain, fear and loss become imprinted on the collective psyche epigenetics, influencing beliefs, behaviours and interpersonal relationships. The manifestations of generational trauma can vary among individuals and communities. Even though not everyone who experiences trauma will exhibit the same symptoms, I have seen the long-lasting scars that war leaves behind – physical, emotional and psychological wounds that can take generations to heal. People may also display resilience and strength in overcoming it.

As a mother and psychologist, I want my children and all children to inherit a world filled with hope, compassion and opportunities. Together, let us strive for a future where they can grow up in a world free from the horrors of war, where their dreams can flourish, and where love and understanding prevail.

It is crucial for us as a society to change the narrative and shift the focus towards peace, kindness and unity. As John Milton wrote, what else can wars give birth to but incessant wars?

Dina Dimitriou, psychologist and founder of Calm Little Minds, Dubai

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Published: October 27, 2023, 3:00 AM