When the innocence of childhood is lost too soon…
It would seem that the Victorian children I painted and published earlier this week have much in common with children this century. I could not let this theme go without looking back to other portraits of children who are calling for help. This Throw Back Thursday post was first printed last year.
“We must choose between the violence of adults and the smiles of children.” Elie Wiesel, Nobel Prize winning author, survivor of Nazi concentration camps. In his memoir “Night”, he wrote about his experiences in the death camps. An activist for human rights all his life, Mr. Wiesel died in 2016.
(Mixed media - charcoal and pastel pencils - in Strathmore Toned Tan Sketchbook. I imported the painting into Procreate and several other apps for the background and text.)
As I was drawing this boy, my thoughts wandered to the images of devastation in war-torn countries, to the atrocities children have witnessed, to the genocide of various religious and ethnic groups, and the fact that a whole new generation of children will live their lives with the emotional scars of war.
I remembered that survivors of prison camps have warned us in letters, and memoirs, and in documentaries to be vigilant against all types of atrocities. Elie Wiesel’s voice is added to theirs.
“My forehead was bathed in cold sweat. But I told him that I did not believe that they could burn people in our age, that humanity would never tolerate it.”
The young boy in Elie Wiesel’s autobiographical work Night, has just arrived in Auschwitz. He is answering his father who has told him that he should have followed the women to the crematorium. Then, the father continues,
“Humanity? Humanity is not concerned with us. Today, anything is allowed…” (p.29)
Is this boy wondering when he and his family will be rescued? Is he thinking that the world has forgotten him and his loved ones?
Or is he living in fear because “today, anything is allowed…”