And shortly before leaving for church I had read a story of another little girl, whose name was unknown, and I wondered if Danielle's shell had found its target there. Danielle was able to sign her name, and her name is known. But this little girl's name is unknown because all her family, who knew her name, were killed by the same shell or bomb or missile that killed her, and this is how she died.
The child whose dead body lies like a rag doll beside the cars which were supposedly taking her and her family to safety is a symbol of the latest Lebanon war; she was hurled from the vehicle in which she and her family were traveling in southern Lebanon as they fled their village - on Israel's own instructions. Because her parents were apparently killed in the same Israeli air attack, her name is still unknown. Not an unknown warrior, but an unknown child.
The story of her death, however, is well documented. On Saturday, the inhabitants of the tiny border village of Marwaheen were ordered by Israeli troops - apparently using a bullhorn - to leave their homes by 6pm. Marwaheen lies closest to the spot where Hizbollah guerrillas broke through the frontier wire a week ago to capture two Israeli soldiers and kill three others, the attack which provoked this latest cruel war in Lebanon. The villagers obeyed the Israeli orders and initially appealed to local UN troops of the Ghanaian battalion for protection.
But the Ghanaian soldiers, obeying guidelines set down by the UN's
headquarters in New York in 1996, refused to permit the Lebanese civilians to enter their base. By terrible irony, the UN's rules had been drawn up after their soldiers gave protection to civilians during an Israeli bombardment of southern Lebanon in 1996 in which 106 Lebanese, more than half of them children, were slaughtered when the Israelis shelled the UN compound at Qana, in which they had been given sanctuary.
So the people of Marwaheen set off for the north in a convoy of cars which only minutes later, close to the village of Tel Harfa, were attacked by an Israeli F-16 fighter-bomber. It bombed all the cars and killed at least 20 of the civilians travelling in them, many of them women and children. Twelve people were burnt alive in their vehicles but others, including the child who lies like a rag doll near the charred civilian convoy, whose photograph was taken - at great risk - by an Associated Press photographer, Nasser Nasser, were blown clear of the cars by the blast of the bombs and fell into
fields and a valley near the scene of the attack. There has been no apology or expression of regret from Israel for these deaths.
But they came from Israel, and Danielle, and you can see the story here..
I heard that US President George Bush had vetoed a bill about embryonic stem cell research, because he thought that a moral boundary had been crossed. But when I read the stories of these two little girls I thought the same moral boundary had been crossed, but George Bush did not exercise a veto. It was from Israel, and Danielle, but the plane that delivered it was made in the USA.
What kind of world have adults created for children to grow up in?
Will we ever see a world in which two little girls like these could grow up as friends, playing together, instead of being dragged into the deadly killing games that adults play?
Maybe my view of children is too sentimental, and yes, I know children are capable of great cruelty. I have read Lord of the flies, and I know that adults are sometimes shocked at the lack of compassion of the young. But I still think this is very sad.