Just when I thought my conscience was dead, when my heart had hardened enough to take the most gruesome of things, and when I had become cynical enough to appreciate the value of anything in this life, a picture shook me like very few things had ever before.
We have seen so many . We have seen the helpless death of Aylan Kurdi pictured on the beaches of Turkey. We have seen so much that we should not have seen. The genocide in Bosnia and Kosovo, the children suffering Assad’s chemical attacks, and the corpses of dead babies from Gaza Strip and the Syrian civil war.
Somehow this image is different. Somehow it is more shocking that any other thing we have ever seen.
Shocking in its lack of violence. Shocking in its calm.
But it only strengthened my view that this world is no place for a living creature. It is no place for a fragile little kid like Omran, who has now probably seen everything that a human should not in their entire lifetimes. I have probably never felt so disgusted with the idea of life in the recent years.
Throughout the time of the survival of Omran, we keep on hearing the calls of “Allah,” who was so conspicuously absent from the scene. Probably that’s why.
It’s a different feeling in a natural disaster, perhaps, where you are helpless for reasons that are beyond anyone’s control. But this is not supposed to happen. These families really had done nothing wrong to deserve this sort of hell.
But to my mind, if these pictures did not destroy your faith, probably nothing would.
Nothing has destroyed my faith in humanity like this ever before.
Not everything about this is apparently so tragic. Omran’s family survived the brutal air bombing on their apartment complex in a rebel-held neighborhood in Aleppo, allegedly by the Russian jets on August 17. The bombing was enough to scar the family for life, but there was hope that they would escape the war zone. However, Omran’s brother Ali, who had been rescued too, could not make it and died of injuries.
It’s probably not the worst thing in the world. At least the family survived. At least the child survived, and who knows who and what he would go on to become.
It’s not worse than the Holocaust. It’s not even worse than the killings of the young children that an Israeli gunship strafed apparently for fun.
But does that make the personal tragedy of his life any less important? Why do we have to consider the severity and the magnitude of a tragedy to reserve our outrage and shock and grief for it?
I don’t know what to make of such a tragedy.
Should we embrace life harder than ever before, or should we move away from it? Should we celebrate his life or should we mourn? I don’t even have to explain why we should mourn. Others are saying he is lucky. Is he?
Should we value life or should we see it as nothing but a series of painful and traumatic experiences?
There comes a time for families when their lives are irreversibly destroyed, and altered for the worse. It is moments like these that change them forever, which change the course of their lives.
In reducing it to a conflict with complicated powers, how we discount the life of an individual.
Should we use it to push the anti-war agenda or should we use it to rally support for more war against Assad, Russia, and the Islamic State? Should we use it to trash whoever is our political opponent or should we use it to advocate for the acceptance of more Syrian refugees?
Is this what our existence comes down to? Is this what life is about?
I don’t even know what’s right anymore.
I don’t know whether I am sad, angry, frustrated or disgusted. I don’t even know what to say anymore. This is the sort of shock after which you don’t want to be happy again.
I don’t even want my mind to be numb anymore. I don’t want to suspend my consciousness, as I would usually do. I want to absorb every bit of these pictures.
Even crying does not undone the grief. It does not undone the trauma of life.
I don’t know how to respond to the pictures of Omran Daqneesh.
We would move on from this, but for a change, something inside is dead.
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