the men and boys are innocent too.
we cry "the innocent women and children" to appeal to the masses, to try and force their sympathy, but the men and boys are innocent too.
I have seen sons crying out for their mothers, their fathers, their siblings. I have seen them break down at the loss of their families. I have seen them cling to their dead and grieve.
I have seen fathers cradle their dead children, seen them kiss their faces and hold their little hands. I have seen them faint with grief when asked to identify the dead. I have seen them carry their sons and daughters. I have seen them fasting to provide what little they can for their families.
I have seen men and boys digging through the rubble with just their bare hands, I have seen them comforting strangers, playing with children, rocking them, hushing them, even if the face of such imminent danger. I have seen them cry, seen them grieve, seen them break down into each other's arms, seen them be selfless, beyond selfless, becoming something I don't have a word for.
I have seen the men who are doctors refuse to leave their patients, even when they have no medicine or supplies to give them, even when they're threatened with bombings. I have seen fathers who have lost all their children pick orphans up into their arms and proclaim them their child so they are not alone. I have seen men and boys digging pets out of the rubble.
the men are innocent too. the men and boys are being hurt and killed too. the men and boys are grieving too. the men and boys are scared too. the men and boys are fighting to save their people too. the men and boys deserve to be fought for too.