The Little Soldiers of GOD, a Continuous Filicide

Our early semi-human progenitors would not have practised infanticide…

for the instincts of the lower animals are never so perverted

as to lead them regularly to destroy their own offspring.

-Charles Darwin

I explored violence against children in Iran since April 2022 in the course of my current project with Atelier Genevois de Gravure Contemporaine. Gradually, the research broadened to larger scale. The countries this study is concerned about are Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Iran. The majority of the population in all these three countries are Muslims aggravated by patriarchal myths. The upbringing in these countries is profoundly integrated with an extremist interpretation of religion, and patriarchy. Recruiting children is an obvious form of violence against children, however it is only the tip of the iceberg. I found the term of Filicide more appropriate to describe any direct and indirect aggression toward children from thir parents. However, this implies the direct murder of a child; sacrifice; sending to war; abandonment; and in a ritualized form, even the act of circumcision, yet in the broader category we can say that father is replaced by the religious leader and the children are raised as obedient followers. The embodiment of this mindset that I directly experienced was in the Iran-Iraq war. According to the government website, 40000 voluntary schoolboy soldiers were martyred. These volunteer schoolboys were eager to sacrifice their lives.

Crying monster is appropriation-based by borrowing the figure from ancient Iranian painting and the child is a detail from the painting Sat- urn Devouring His Son by Peter Paul Rubens. The monster is carrying a baby in a very light colour. Right on the top of this child, I installed a frame representing information, photos or news about children sol- diers. This aquatint work repeats in a few versions.