Child of Aleppo: ‘He will be my brother’

Alex, New York City

Alex, New York City

A reminder here that there is a time before self-interest and fear comes to rule over our hearts. A time before self-preservation seizes our sense of morality and friendship. A time called childhood.

Yesterday, the White House released news of a six-year-old boy who wrote to President Obama offering a home for five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, whose image was captured just after being treated after an airstrike in Aleppo.

It was an image that (for a time) fueled an international outcry to put peacemaking in Syria at the forefront of the international agenda.

From the White House blog:

In a politically caustic environment, it is not surprising that some have reacted with fear and suspicion to the idea of welcoming refugees to our shores. But not Alex. Alex is six years old and lives just outside of New York City with his mom, dad, and little sister Catherine. When Alex saw what had happened to Omran, he sat down at his kitchen table and wrote President Obama a letter. “Can you please go get him and bring him to [my home],” he asked. “We’ll be waiting for you guys with flags, flowers, and balloons. We will give him a family and he will be our brother.”

In the Leaders Summit on Refugees this week, President Obama shared that letter with the world leaders that had gathered together to discuss what they could do to solve the global refugee crisis.

The humanity that a young child can display, who hasn’t learned to be cynical, or suspicious, or fearful of other people because of where they’re from, or how they look, or how they pray, and who just understands the notion of treating somebody that is like him with compassion, with kindness — we can all learn from Alex.

Here is the letter:

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Juxtaposing the world of Omran:

And that of his would-be brother:

With recent anti-refugee political posturing:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has been fighting against Syrian refugees coming to his state for nearly a year. Image Credit: AP

Texas will quit the refugee resettlement program if the federal government does not meet the state’s demands on security, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Wednesday in his latest attempt to keep Syrian refugees out of his state.

Like his past efforts, there’s one major problem here: Texas cannot actually block refugees from the state.

The Texas government can refuse to help with the process, however ― a dramatic move from a state that welcomed more refugees this fiscal year than any other state in the nation.

Abbott said the state will withdraw from the program if the government declines a request for more extensive assurances that each refugee is not a security threat.

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