This sketch was inspired in part by a visit to the Lipizzaners yesterday evening, and the sight of small children having a ball without much idea of what goes on in the world around them – which is as it should be.
This evening I read about 6 year old Emilie Parker. She was one of 2o children shot dead by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Her father described her as a talented artist who carried around her markers and pencils with her and drew pictures for others to cheer them up.
Reading about Emilie, I thought back to what I was like when I was six. I loved to paint and draw because it was something I was good at. I also loved pink dresses and ballet and horses and unicorns. I played the piano and read books and looked forward to going on holiday. I loved Christmas.
I enjoyed a childhood of innocence, mostly. Do any six year old girls anywhere in the world get to be innocent anymore? There are far too many in South Africa who have never enjoyed a life free from fear or knowledge of things that no child should ever be confronted with. Now, a generation of children will grow up in fear because they must.
Innocence has become a luxury. There is something terribly sad about that.