Bloodied Syrian boy Omran Daqneesh now the napalm child of this generation - NEWS SENTRY


Monday, 22 August 2016

Bloodied Syrian boy Omran Daqneesh now the napalm child of this generation

It is only a few days since we all first saw the images of a bloodied and dazed little Syrian boy named Omran Daqneesh, injured after an airstrike in his neighborhood of Aleppo. But already the world has moved on.


We have moved on to the confessional of a drunken frat boy out of the Rio Olympics named Ryan Lochte, moved back to the coarseness of this Presidential campaign, where Donald Trump's latest campaign manager,Kellyanne Conway, actually said this on Sunday to ABC's George Stephanapoulos:

Conway is supposed to be the voice of reason in the campaign. She still says something like that at the same time the pep boys from the bullhorn media, the ones who act as if they want Trump to take them for ice cream, keep saying Hillary Clinton is the one acting as if she got dropped on her head.

Brother of Syrian boy in iconic airstrike photos dies

So Kellyanne Conway provides more noise and more words in the post-factual world of this Presidential season. Except that in the midst of all these words came the face of this 5-year old boy.

And if you actually believe what Donald Trump has been saying about immigration - and Trump has made immigration the centerpiece of his message - then someday it will be our patriotic duty to keep Omran Daqneesh out of America because he might want to come here and kill us all.

But the truth of the pictures of this little boy, in a state of shock, who lost a brother because of the bombing in the Qaterji neighborhood, is that they require no words at all. Great pictures never do. These just remind us, as if we need reminding, what war looks like; that war is never just tough talk about winning and winning quickly. The war in Syria has only cost half-a-million lives over the past five years.

Once, during another war, the one in Vietnam, there was the terrible, haunting image of a naked 9-year old girl, running for her life, screaming and crying, after napalm bombs had dropped from the sky on her village, Trang Bang, north of Saigon. The pictures were shot, brilliantly and memorably, by Nick Ut of the Associated Press, then just 21. He took his pictures and then dropped his camera to help the girl, Kim Phuc, who is 53 now, and living out the possibilities of an immigrant life.

She is a wife and a mother in Canada, a United Nations ambassador for peace, the founder of Kim Foundation International, which helps children who are victims of war the way she was.

"I took almost a roll of Tri-x film of her then I saw her skin coming off and I stopped taking pictures," Nick Ut told Vanity Fair last year. "I didn't want her to die. I wanted to help her. I put my cameras down on the road. We poured water over this young girl. Her name was Kim Phuc. She kept yelling 'nóng quá' (Too hot). We were all in shock."

In a different world, the world before Twitter and Instagram and social media, Ut's photographs went viral before there was such a thing. There has always been the notion, just because we are in the late rounds of the Vietnam War by then, that Ut's pictures, taken seven months before the Paris Peace Accords, might have hastened the signing of those accords, and at least helped stop the bombing there, and the killing.

Now, 44 years later, comes the picture of this little boy. And if someday it is this boy and his family who join the endless parade of refugees out of that country, then what exactly are we to do with him, and his family? What is the world supposed to say to them?

What does any American with any humanity say to them now, as the bombs keep falling all around them and the fighting goes on in Syria, between the Assad regime and rebel forces that become more extreme by the day? The killing from everywhere, from Kurds and Sunnis and Christians and every possible jihadi group about which we've heard, and some we haven't. Of course if there is one great and lasting failure of President Barack Obama's foreign policy, it has been in Syria, a country that has become as hellish as any on earth, where it seems everybody has picked a side except us.

So often the worst of it is in Aleppo, the control of that city seen as essential to Assad maintaining control of his country. In the name of all that, the city is being burned to the ground.

And out of it all comes the picture of Omran Daqneesh, dirt and blood all over him because the evil in the world had now found him, the napalm child of this generation, sitting there in an ambulance instead of running for his life like Kim Phuc once did, someone we're supposed to fear might grow up someday to wage war on us all.

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