s the latest symbol of the horrors of war and its effects on children.
The distressing video of a five-year-old Syrian boy dressed in a cartoon character T-shirt and covered with dust, with the left side of his face all bloodied, was just too heartbreaking that the CNN anchor was moved to tears while reporting on it last Friday.
The haunting image of Omran Daqneesh—who was just plucked from the rubble of his bombed-out home in Aleppo, Syria that was hit by a Russian airstrike—can indeed be overwhelming even as he merely sits silently in an ambulance awaiting medical attention.
With his hands on his lap, a dazed Omran just sits still after he was carried to the ambulance by a rescuer. Never can he be seen crying at any point. The last images in the news footage show the chubby little boy as he raises his left hand to his eye, feels his left temple that has a gaping wound, and then stares at the blood on his palm before wiping it on the seat.
CNN anchor Kate Bolduan was visibly moved while telling Omran’s story on live TV. As her voice quivers, she pauses, clears her throat, blinks and sighs before taking a deep breath and resumes reporting.
“What strikes me is we shed tears, but there are no tears here,” she blurts, struggling to hold back tears. “He doesn’t cry once. That little boy is in total shock. He’s stunned, inside his home one moment and the next, lost in the fury and the flurry of war and chaos.”
At least three people died in the bomb blast but Omran, together with his mother and brother who were also injured, survived. “He’s alive. We wanted you to know,” Bolduan said as she ends her report.
Omran’s story is unfortunately common. “The truth is that the image you see today is repeated every day in Aleppo,” cameraman Mustafa al Sarouq, who filmed the video, said. “Every day we cover these massacres and these war crimes in Aleppo. When we go to the places that have been bombed, regime planes circle around and bomb it again to kill rescue workers that are helping civilians.”
Syria’s five-year civil war has reportedly reached a death toll estimated to reach a staggering 470,000. About 4,500 of the estimated 18,000 civilians killed in Aleppo alone since 2011 were children, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
"In Syria, what we are hearing and seeing is only fighting, offensives, counter-offensives, rockets, barrel bombs, mortars, hellfire cannons, napalm, chlorine, snipers, airstrikes, suicide bombers," according to United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura who said intense fighting has stopped aid deliveries.
The heartrending effect of the little boy’s video that also exploded in social media is similar to that of another Syrian toddler, Aylan Kurdi, who was photographed September last year lying face down on a Turkey beach after drowning in an attempt to sail to a better life far from his war-torn country.
Kurdi’s jolting image reverberated across the world, sparking an outpouring of sympathy as it became the top trending picture on Twitter under the hashtag #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik (humanity washed ashore).
It also became a symbol of the cruelty of war that ought to motivate our generation to actively pursue an end to strife, just as a 1972 photo hastened an end to the Vietnam War. Back then, AP photojournalist Nick Ut’s Pulitzer Prize-winning black and white photograph—of a terrified nine-year-old Vietnamese girl running naked and screaming in pain from burns caused by napalm bomb—was so shocking to the generation of the 70’s and it “sickened people around the world.”