I’m sorry, sweet boy, that your picture appeared on my news feed today and my instinct was to scroll quickly down because your rubble-covered and bloodied little face upset me. I didn’t scroll, as it happens. I read your story and I (like many others today) watched a video of you being carried away from the noise and pandemonium that followed the recent airstrike in Aleppo. I watched you sitting there on your little chair; I watched the confusion and agitation in your eyes as you wiped your face to find blood on your hand and I watched as other children, small and helpless like yourself were also carried into the ambulance and placed down like dolls.
I’m sorry, sweet boy, that more than anything at that moment, you needed holding tight and to be told it was going to be ok, but there was nobody there to hold you. I wanted to hold you myself. To pull you in close. For you to sob and cry away your pain and leave your tears on my shoulder. I wanted to take you to a safe place – a world like the one my own young boys live and thrive in every day. I wondered about your family, your mother mostly truth be told, and whether she is still around to comfort you and help you through your ordeal and the others no doubt still to come, or whether you, like so many others, are orphaned.
I’m sorry, more than anything, that just a few months ago, MPs in the country where I live voted AGAINST amending an immigration bill that would have allowed 3000 orphan children from your country a safe haven and second chance at a life. I’m sorry that not long after, we allowed a politician to stand in front of the most sickening ‘anti-migrant’ poster I have ever seen, and that others like you are so consistently dehumanised in political rhetoric and the media. I’m sorry that your skin feels and hurts as much as that of my own children, your emotions are as real as theirs, you are as real as them, yet from the comfort of our armchairs, hiding behind our screens, it often doesn’t seem so.
I’m sorry that you are a child and yet you haven’t had a childhood; you are a child, and yet you have witnessed things that no adult even should ever have to see; you are a child, and yet your desperate situation is entirely the fault of adult ignorance. I’m sorry that there are so many more stories just like yours and that so few of you are receiving the help that you need.
I’m sorry that there ever came a day where you became known as “the boy in the ambulance”. I put my two young boys to bed tonight and as I tucked them in and kissed them, it was you, Omran, who I thought of and I am just so sorry, for it all.
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