I am a member of Congress from Los Angeles and the highest ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations. As I look around the world I grow more concerned by the day. We stand by as the bloody civil war in Syria reaches all new levels of brutality, and we bemoan the kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian girls by religious extremists. I see a world seemingly divided into one of three camps: victimizer, victim and bystander.

And what I fear most is that we have lost our ability to be outraged.

For four long weeks, over 200 sets of parents and millions of their countrymen have been immobilized by anguish, waiting for any bit of information about their young daughters who have been snatched by Boko Haram. And then last week, we heard about the kidnapping of three Israeli boys. Their crime? They too were at the wrong place at the wrong time, preyed on by terrorists looking to steal Israeli children. Although no one has taken credit yet for the crime, Hamas has publicly celebrated the kidnapping of these children. And although details of these recent incidents still remain unclear, there is something that should be clear to all of us: the world must rise up to snuff out the aspirations of those who use children to further their political or religious agenda.

I look at the faces of all these kidnapped children; in them I see everyone’s child and everyone’s hope, and now every mother’s worst nightmare.

My heart breaks for those mothers and for all children left so terrified, brutalized and alone.

I want those 200 girls back. And I want those three boys back as well – no excuses and no justifications.

It is time for all religions and nationalities to agree that our children are our treasures – not our targets.

The author is a US Congresswoman from California.


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