There is this little boy liftedout of the rubble of a Aleppo neighborhood, then a second child, and a grown-up, and off-camera you hear the cries of rescuers swell and wane as they — I suppose — find new survivors (at least, I hope they’re survivors).
Through it all, the little boy sits in the ambulance and, as Time magazine reported, he doesn’t make a sound. He is a tiny king presiding over a corner of hell and if was possible, I would reach out and hug him.
Maybe these photos are the only way to break through the nonsense. Remember the photo of Alyan Kurdi, the little Syrian boy who drowned with 12 others that day when his family was trying to reach Canada? His little body in the surf woke us up, but the horror continues.
If I could write the end of this video, it would be at the 10-year mark, where the news media descends again on this boy’s home, and he’s happy and smiling, and doesn’t want to be interrupted by this chattering class with clicking cameras and shouted questions because he’s playing video games — nice, benign video games, not the kind where you shoot and kill because he’s seen that already and it’s not entertaining.
And the media reports that he and his family have chosen to remain in Aleppo, which is rebuilding in the most amazing ways — green ways! parks! community gardens! — that makes the bad old days something so far in the past that people have to scratch their heads to remember.
And then there is another 10 years, and another, and the little bloodied boy is a man with a family and he tells the media that they should go away now, and leave him to live his peaceful life, in peace. And they do so, because it feels cruel to remind people that we once thought bombing the hell out of a neighborhood was a way to bring about peace.
The linked video is from the Aleppo Media Centre. More on them here.
UPDATE: Here’s more on the boy, Omran Daqneesh, age 5. He and the rest of his family survived the attack. When he finally spoke, his first words were to ask for his father, who had pulled him out of the rubble.