We're so happy to see that something seems to be happening in the world of humanitarian organizations.
There is growing interest for the group Children Born of War. Tragically, the reason is the uncertain fate of the IS-children.
As those who follow this game project already know (we hope), part of our motivation for telling the story of the children of German soldiers suffering in Norway after World War II in a game is the wish to create general awareness for the group of children called Children Born of War (CBOW). CBOW are defined as the children of enemy soldiers and local women born as the result of war or conflict.
During our years of working on this game, the only international group that we've found who has been focusing on this topic is the International and Interdisciplinary Research Network for Children Born of War , headed by Prof. Dr. Ingvill Mochmann. In addition to this research network, there are also local organizations of CBOW-children from different conflicts, as well as the BOW-INT-network, consisting of groups of CBOW-children from World War II in Europe.
But on the international scene, there has been no discussion about these children. The world seems to have been working on acknowledging the mothers - as rape has been accepted as a weapon of war. However, this now seems to be changing.
We have the impression that the knowledge of all the children who have been born with IS-soldiers as fathers might be the reason. Now that IS has been fought back to a large extent, many are starting to think about what to do with these children, as you can also see from this article from The Guardian:
A quote from the text: "The women who chose to leave the UK and go there need to be responsible for what they did. They will not be coming home,” said a British official. “The children, though, deserve compassion.”
Sukainah Mohamad Younes tells the newspaper “- There are more than 1,500 Isis families of locals... I’ve recently sent 13 children of Isis fighters to an orphanage." and "- I’ve managed to send a few orphans to school despite them being stateless and with no identification cards; however, some don’t even have shoes on their feet … These Isis kids are victims."
Through our contact with Ms Mochmann, we hear of CBOW-themed seminars popping up on short notice, and were lucky enough to participate when Mochmann spoke at PRIO, the Norwegian research institute for peace (picture above). We're really grateful that she mentioned our game and our film, and we also got in contact with Save the Children Norway at this seminar. Now, we have a date for presenting our game and talking about games as a tool for change at Save the Children in December.
In addition to this, we are also talking with War Child UK, hoping to create partnerships where our game and film can be used to create attention for these children - and motivate people to help give them better protection and better life prospects.
Lastly, I'd like to add one thing. If you see media coverage about the IS or refugee children in the upcoming months - look to see how many describe them as a "security risk" or express worry that they will "grow up to be terrorists" or be made extreme by their parents.
This is just what happened to the children in Norway after World War II. It is this branding of children as enemies or "potential future enemies" that is at the center of the tragedy of CBOW. It is in itself an act of violence. If you are branded as a risk and an outsider from birth – as the Norwegian example in our game can show you – it will probably scar you for life.