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How are the Children? - Silent Screams
by Rubikon editors
Tuesday May 25th, 2021 6:34 AM
How could adults do this to them when the risk of contracting Covid-19 is extremely low compared to other risks in life? A lost generation is growing up under our eyes. Those who remain silent and only watch are sinning against growing, still malleable souls and against the future of all of us.
How are the Children? - Silent Screams
Children's well-being takes a backseat to debate altogether in this crisis.
From Rubicon's World Editor
[This article published on May 14, 2021 is translated from the German on the Internet, Stumme Schreie | Rubikon.news.]

"Children are our future" - but do they still have one themselves in a society that radically bypasses their needs? Even before Corona, the number of drug deaths and suicides among youth in the U.S. was reaching alarming levels. Now, to make matters worse, young people are being deprived of what is the most essential part of their joy of being: meeting their peers, partying, playing sports, joining clubs ... How could adults do this to them when the risk of contracting Covid-19 is extremely low compared to other risks in life? A lost generation is growing up under our eyes. Those who remain silent and only watch are sinning against growing, still malleable souls and against the future of all of us.
by Christine E. Black

"Casserian Engeri?" translated from the Maasai language means, "And how are the children?" This is a traditional greeting among a Maasai tribe in Africa.
One hoped to hear "Sepati Ingera!" which means, "The children are doing well."

A good indicator of the health of a society is the health of its children.
Sadly, currently in the U.S., where former Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Robert Redfield said publicly in July 2020 that suicide and drug overdose deaths among high school students far outnumber covid deaths and the number of school failures, especially among high school students, has reached epidemic proportions, the answer to that question must be:
"No. Kids are not doing well. Not well at all."

And I am amazed at the lack of outcry from the majority of our public officials.

For more than a year, children and youth have been deprived of the essentials of what gives their lives value and meaning - seeing their friends at school, club meetings, church groups, camps, family gatherings, singing groups, playing in school bands and orchestras.
Some schools have continued the sports programs, but many have not, sometimes with harrowing consequences, such as the suicide of Dylan Buckner, 18, reported by The Epoch Times in its April 21, 2021, issue. Dylan's father, Chris, said he was certain that school closures in his state of Illinois and extended home detentions affected his son's mental health and contributed to his death.

Dylan had a very good grade point average, was passionate about playing football, which his father said helped him maintain a regular routine, according to the article "The Cost of Lockdowns." He was well on his way to college on a football scholarship. And yet, this year, the school system cut the football program because they were afraid of Covid.

Dylan attempted suicide in September 2020 and managed to end his life in January 2021.

For more than a year, fearful adults and misguided politicians have kept children and teens from meeting friends and living their lives normally. Child development experts agree that peer relationships are among the most important for teen mental and emotional health.
How could we do this to a nation of children? To a virus that even former CDC Director James Redfield said posed almost no risk to them.

He said the flu was five to 10 times more dangerous to children and that they had a 1 in a million chance of dying from covid.
Early predictions of death from the virus have been shown to be exaggerated and terribly wrong. Yet most politicians have not made public retractions and corrections to calm fears and help people, especially children, get back to normal lives. Instead, they allow the fear-mongering and harm to continue.

In March 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, politicians and bureaucrats publicly stated that children could infect their parents or grandparents with covid, even if the child had no symptoms. Members of the Coronavirus Task Force, said that children, teens and young people, simply by going about their normal lives - meeting friends, playing sports, attending school events and parties - could unknowingly become infected and then spread the virus to older family members, potentially causing death - even if the young person was not sick, even if they did not even have a cold.

This was called "asymptomatic spread," one of the many bizarre terms we've had to learn and pay attention to for more than a year now.
Politicians and bureaucrats stood at the White House podium in the U.S. at the beginning of this crisis and said that after a child infects an older family member and perhaps causes a disease that leads to death, "you have to live with it." How devastating, harmful, and irresponsible to say something like that within earshot of children, teens, and young adults - that they might be a danger to others just because they are breathing, because they exist, because they are living their normal lives.

Something like that is especially horrible and harmful when we're not even sure it's true.

It sounded implausible from the beginning. And it turned out not to be true. Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Department of Emerging Diseases and Zoonoses, said at a June 7, 2020, press conference that, based on known research, "asymptomatic spread is very rare."

A recent Chinese study of 10 million people published in Nature found that asymptomatic spread was not only rare, but almost nonexistent.
On November 22, 2020, Jeffrey A. Tucker published a comprehensive article on the American Institute for Economic Research website tracing information about asymptomatic spread over the past year.
As I read Tucker's article and then the study published in Nature, I wondered: where are our elected officials now?

Where are the very same highly paid politicians, bureaucrats, and public health officials who had spread this terrible and alarming news that had so completely ruined the lives of young people for more than a year? Why didn't they retract those statements about asymptomatic spread and assure children, teens and young adults that there was simply nothing to worry about? That just by being alive and being themselves, they were not and never had been "superspreaders," so they were not automatic carriers of the disease.

Why weren't reassuring and empowering messages issued to young people by officials - after more and different information about this virus emerged? Where was the outcry to protect the mental and emotional health and academic lives of young people, especially teenagers?
Another article by Micha Gartz for the American Institute for Economic Research reminds us that the average age for death from this virus is 80. Most people who contract the virus get no symptoms at all. Most people who get symptoms get only mildly ill, and even the majority of those who get seriously ill recover.

However, the harm done to communities by widespread lockdowns is very real.

Crisis Text Line, a nonprofit that provides free mental health text messages to people in crisis, received 180,00 text messages in November 2020, its highest number ever, Gartz notes in her article "More 'Covid Suicides' than Covid Deaths in Kids."

Even high-performing students who have had good grades in the past have fallen behind at an alarming rate during last year's school closures and predominantly online instruction, according to published studies, including one from Fairfax County Public Schools, one of the largest school districts in the United States.

Parents who had previously heeded the advice of groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics to limit children and teens' screen time to no more than two hours of quality content per day for health reasons have now been swayed to allow their children to spend several hours per day on the computer while missing friends, falling behind in class and losing hope.

Too much time on the computer can pose a risk to young people's health, especially those who may be vulnerable to addictive behaviors. In 2019, WHO listed computer game addiction as a disease that primarily harms children, adolescents, and young adults. How are kids faring? Not at all well.

Lockdowns, massive anxiety and school closures have had a devastating impact on the health of children and teens. A national independent nonprofit called Fair Health, which studies health care costs, reported in March 2021 a 333 percent increase in intentional self-injury among youth ages 12 to 18 from August 2019 to August 2020.

The study, "The Impact of COVID-19 on Pediatric Mental Health: A Study of Private Healthcare Claims," analyzed 32 billion private health insurance claims. According to the study, claims for overdoses, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and anxiety have increased dramatically among children ages 12 to 18. The CDC reported in the summer of 2020 that 25 percent of young adults ages 18 to 25 had seriously considered suicide.

Many experts have said publicly that lockdowns, including school closures, have been a disastrous and unnecessary containment strategy that has caused untold harm and countless deaths.
Dr. Jay Battacharya, a professor at Stanford University Medical School, called lockdowns "the biggest mistake we've ever made in public health" in a March 2021 Newsweek article.

Battacharya is one of the authors of a petition called "The Great Barrington Declaration," released in October 2020. It calls for protective strategies for the elderly while also calling for an end to lockdowns for entire societies, since lockdowns cause far more harm than good.

"Keeping children out of school is a grave injustice," says the declaration, signed by 14,000 medical and public health scientists, 43,000 medical professionals and nearly 800,000 citizens. Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, and Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University, are also authors of the petition.
Many studies now published show that states that stayed open last year did no worse, and some even did better, than states that had the most restrictive closures and shutdowns. In addition, there have been treatments for this virus all along, such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, which if given early could have saved tens of thousands of lives, according to many sources.

Dr. Peter McCollough spoke to Congress about early treatment and about the criminal gagging of doctors, and likewise about doctors being prevented from treating covid patients with drugs that work. Instead, these drugs have been politicized and doctors prevented from prescribing them. With more courage and independent thinking, fear and harm could have been contained; instead, many simply watched the light go out in children's eyes, month after month, for more than a year.

Children playing sports were required to wear masks, even though masks can reduce oxygen delivery, hinder concentration and cause more accidents, some parents complained, whereas professional athletes on television are not required to wear masks. While many schools have reopened for regular classes, the documents produced by the government to reopen the schools with repressive regulations for six-foot spacing, disinfection, and masks read almost like manuals for running a concentration camp.

I taught in a prison, and these public-school reopening plans read and feel more repressive than prison conditions. I have seen children in school this past year eating within six feet of each other, only allowed to take off their masks to eat, and not allowed to eat with their friends. I can hardly control myself not to cry when I see them doing this.
Schoolrooms and cafeterias these days look more like rooms where kids are sent for detention. Students look like they're being punished even though they didn't do anything wrong. How can this be? How can we stand by in silence?

Some students can feel so depressed under these conditions that they don't even want to attend school. It can be downright abysmal not to see human faces and smiles for extended periods of time. For years, teachers have studied and promoted the importance of children's social and emotional learning, and now we expect children to attend schools that look and feel like prison camps. Or worse. How can we treat our children this way?

We want to believe that the information we receive about this virus is unbiased and unprejudiced - especially when government mandates have hit children and young adults so hard. Certainly, the measures must have been neutral and necessary. But unfortunately, the information we receive is not unbiased; we must continue to question, read, listen, and think.

Writer and researcher Dr. Naomi Wolf notes that the CDC has set up a foundation to receive money from big pharma, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and technology companies that profit from online education.

While some politicians and highly paid bureaucrats are still spreading fear, panic and paranoia, others have begun to speak out about failed lockdown policies.

In an April 21, 2021 Epoch Times article, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said elected officials, the mainstream media and Big Tech are responsible for stoking fears and selectively censoring one side of the harm reduction debate. And why? Because they have made money off of fear, panic, and paranoia.

"Media and big tech giants profited from lockdowns because people stayed home and consumed their products," DeSantis said. Google removed videos of DeSantis talking to doctors who criticized failed lockdown policies. "Google and YouTube were censors in the service of the ruling elite during this crisis," he said.

While millions of people lost their businesses or jobs - and schoolchildren, teens and adolescents struggled with despair, loneliness and school failure - 614 U.S. billionaires increased their wealth by $931 billion, according to a December 1, 2020 USA Today article.

For the health of our communities and our children, we must keep rising above fear, confusion, paranoia, and even shame and guilt for being so wrong in our response to the virus. We must always return to the question:
"And how are the children doing?"

And if the children are not doing well, we need to change course and stop harming them while working diligently to mitigate the damage that has already been done.

Christine E. Black's poems have appeared in Antietam Review, 13th Moon, American Journal of Poetry, New Millennium Writings, Nimrod International, Red Rock Review, The Virginia Journal of Education, Friends Journal, The Veteran, Sojourners Magazine, Iris Magazine, English Journal, Amethyst Review, St. Katherine Review, and other publications.

Editorial note: This text first appeared May 14, 2021, under the title "And how are the children?" It was translated by Sabine Amann of the Rubicon volunteer translation team and proofread by the Rubicon volunteer proofreading team.
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