On Middle East Eye, I discussed and criticized the media coverage surrounding five year-old Omran Daqneesh, whose name and story went viral after a video surfaced of him sitting traumatized in an ambulance in Aleppo after surviving an airstrike. Unfortunately, just like the other stories of children that have surfaced, the narrative doesn't go beyond the "horrors of war".
Below is an excerpt:
The video of Omran Daqneesh went viral, just like the video of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, whose lifeless body was found washed ashore in near Bodrum, Turkey, as he and his family fled Syria to find refuge in Canada.
Just like the image before that of 13-year-old Hamza al-Khatib, who was picked up by Syrian security forces near Daraa in April 2011. A month later, his swollen body – with gunshot wounds, burn marks consistent with electric shock devices and a severed penis – was released to his family.
While both Alan and Hamza’s deaths – and their images - led to international outrage and horror, they have proved to be flashes in the pan.
With many men, women, and children like Alan washed ashore a year later and hundreds of thousands more killed in the country since the UN stopped counting, all we have seen is the EU-Turkey Deal and an anti-refugee policy that returns asylum seekers searching for security in Europe back to Turkey.
Alan Kurdi became the poster child of the refugee crisis. Hamza al-Khatib was called a symbol of the Syrian opposition.
Now governments and international organisations are quickly turning Omran Daqneesh into a symbol of the horrors of war, a rhetorical tool without any initiative to change circumstances for thousands of suffering people.
Omran Daqneesh, like Alan Kurdi and Hamza al-Khatib before him, should be a reminder of the global neglect for justice for Syrians five years on.
Read the full article here.