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an excerpt by Tacey A. Rosolowski

A newspaper photo catches my eye: Iraqi children follow one another across a beam balanced over debris in Baghdad. The Times photographer snaps them proceeding gingerly, as children do, arms outstretched and smiling. Journalists in World-War II London captured children excavating tunnels through rubble; others, years later, snapped grimy hands sculpting mud castles in city gardens in Bosnia.

Children, playing amid conflict, will always be children; adults seem to need this consoling thought. The images are powerful as they wrest symbols of innocence from the tangled dirt of political violence. Adults transform children’s play for their own purposes with no mind to how games work for children.