A mother’s reflection on the children of the Syrian civil war

This reflection was written by Nicole Hark, LWR’s Acting Senior Director for Asia & the Middle East, in reaction to the trending photo of Omran Daqneesh, a young Syrian boy photographed following his rescue from his bombed apartment building.

I can’t seem to stop crying (and no, it’s not because I’m 36 weeks pregnant).

Like much of the world, I was struck this week by the photo of the young Syrian boy, Omran Daqneesh, sitting in an ambulance chair after being rescued from the rubble of his bombed apartment building. I had so many reactions to this picture – the general heartbreak I get most days when reading the news reports and following the situation in Syria; the awe for volunteers like the White Helmets who rescued him and his family from the rubble; and tears, as a mother with a toddler who is not that much younger than this boy. I have had so many tears.

In his gesture, the casual swipe over his eyes with his bloodied hand, I saw my son. But in his eyes, the seemingly-blank look that in fact conveyed so much more, I was captivated. This wasn’t my son, this was someone else’s son, and while that leaves the responsibility of comforting him, explaining to him, and seeking safety for him to someone else, I still can’t seem to shake this sense of responsibility. This feeling that he is, in many ways, also my son. That our world is so interconnected now that what happened to this boy will impact my boy, and the world they both grow up in.

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