Brooke Goldstein, filmmaker, activist, and legal advocate, spoke to an assembly of GPS Upper School students on Monday, and later to a smaller group at a Lunchtime Learning program.
Ms. Goldstein is the founder and director of the Children’s Rights Institute and director of the Lawfare Project, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness about the abuse of law and legal systems for political or military means.
Espousing her belief that “all children have the right to life, an education, and media free of incitement to hate and to kill themselves,” she previewed clips of her award-winning documentary, “The Making of a Martyr.” When children are taught that their “greatest aspiration should be martyrdom, then that child is as much a victim of a human rights crime as the people” he blows up in a suicide act, she said.
She bemoaned the “desensitization” of children in the Middle East and encouraged the students to increase their own awareness of how little the media addresses the human rights violations of using children as human shields.
Ms. Goldstein’s research has taken her to the West Bank and into interviews with leading terrorist groups, families of suicide bombers, child psychologists, and teachers. Children exposed to terrorist teachings that promise “candy, Ferris wheels, and family members” in the afterlife do not “have the intellectual capacity to choose a life of terrorism and martyrdom.”
Stating that “terrorist groups are adults directing armies of children,” she warned the students that “ignoring the issue sends the message that we don’t care about Muslim children.” Instead, she is dedicated to preventing the child-as-suicide-bomber phenomenon from spreading.