Thursday, August 18, 2016

This, too, shall pass. Unfortunately!

As we were enjoying the tastiest Morrocan sweets and the freshest strawberries, I paused.  "I know I say this a lot, but I want to remind ourselves about the awesome life that we have. With such food in plenty. On a great summer evening."



I am immensely thankful for the life that I have.  If ever I forget how lucky I am, all it takes is one visit to any of my favorite news sites to re-calibrate.

Contrast my life to the life of the kid in this photo:

Source
Even without knowing any backstory, any normal human being with a little empathy would feel terrible for that kid.  A kid with a name and a tragic backstory:
The boy, identified by medical workers as Omran Daqneesh, 5, was pulled from a damaged building after a Syrian government or Russian airstrike in the northern city of Aleppo.
How awful!
Maybe it was his haircut, long and floppy up top; or his rumpled T-shirt showing the Nickelodeon cartoon character CatDog; or his tentative, confused movements in a widely circulated video — gestures familiar to anyone who has loved a child. Or the instant and inescapable question of whether a parent was left alive to give him a hug.
In any event, by Thursday morning, Omran’s image had been broadcast and published around the world
We might share the image and the news. I blog about it. We talk about the kid and the war.  But, the killings continue.  A civil war that has dragged on for years.  Not only have we been witness to the horrors, we do not even want to help those who are fleeing from this hell.

Here in the US, we even have a presidential candidate who proudly vows that his America will not help the refugees--and there are tens of millions of my fellow citizens who even more proudly cheer him and his rhetoric!  We cannot expect any sympathy from that wannabe leader of the free world--after all, he couldn't even stand a crying kid at his rally!

Normal decent humans, unlike that candidate and his followers, will relate to this Syrian kid.
Omran, as he is carried from a damaged building in the dark, could be Everychild. He looks around in confusion, his chubby forearm draped trustingly across the reflective stripe on his rescuer’s back, before he is plopped into the chair at the back of ambulance, lit blindingly white.
He settles into a thousand-yard stare, apparently too stunned to cry. Then he puts a hand to his bloody brow, looks at his palm in surprise, and tries to wipe it on the chair. Then he glances around, as if trying to understand where he is. 
But, it is not as if photographs of kids catalyzed us into humanitarian efforts.  Remember this?

Our lives will continue.  We will have good food. Spend evenings with friends and family.  Go on vacations. Complain about the choppy cellphone signal.  Cry over the sports team that lost.

Meanwhile, adults and kids will continue to die in the brutal civil war:
Cases like Omran’s are a daily sight in eastern Aleppo, several doctors said, but he was lucky in that he made it to a hospital that was still open. ...
A boy lay on the floor, his legs missing. A woman in black put her hand to her mouth in anguish.
Another boy lay on a gurney, soaked in blood, as a clinician worked on him. A few minutes later came another text message: The boy had died. His name was Ibrahim Hadiri, and there was a new photograph of his face, eyes closed. It is not likely to go viral.

2 comments:

Ramesh said...

Oh No. I was hoping that you wouldn't blog about the photo. I am simply numb seeing this, somehow even more than that of Alan Kurdi.

I don't even know what to think about Syria. Not sure if as a race, we are human anymore.

Sriram Khé said...

Yes, the Syrian situation ought to make us pause at least for a few seconds in order to think about what it means to be human. History won't be kind to us for having been spectators ...

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