We Can't Say We Didn't Know

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A word about five-year-old Omran Daqneesh. The image of him sitting still, stunned, bloodied in an ambulance after being scooped out of rubble from an air strike on Aleppo has quickly spread, reads one account, "shocking and disturbing social media users." Well yes. Shocking and disturbing. Harrowing and heartbreaking. But, to be clear, not exceptional. Up to a half million Syrians have been killed in Russian and Assad air strikes, many aimed at Aleppo. "These are children bombed every day," notes Mustafa al-Sarout, an Aleppo-based journalist who filmed the rescue, and was surprised at the reaction. "This child is a representative of millions of children in Syria and its cities.”

Those there or witness to it say the same things. "Everyone is bombing Syrians, and no one cares," says Dr. Zaher Sahloul, founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria and former president of the Syrian American Medical Society. The story not being told in the media: "Civilians are suffering every day. Children are being mutilated and killed... Hospitals are targeted. Schools are targeted. Fruit markets are targeted. This is the tragedy that we are living in." A tragedy, he adds, that most of the world turns away from, because we can. Because we can be shocked, even surprised despite the years-long carnage, and then go on with our lives, as silent as Omran in his ash and blood and shock. 

Doctors said Omran remained dazed and silent at the hospital while he was being treated. It was only when he was reunited with his siblings and parents, who survived, that he began to cry. He, too, survived.

Many do not. The next day, more air strikes, more children hit. Video shows doctors trying to resuscitate one on the floor of a hospital. He died. Another video shows two more small deaths, and their sobbing father. Tomorrow, there'll be more. From Twitter: "We can't say we didn't know."

 Sometimes a video is worth a million words...#aleppo pic.twitter.com/Pe2pfkgUsK

 @Sophiemcneill @hasandogan Bu videoyu görünce birde şu aklıma geldi Ölen çocuklar içinde 2 kızını gören bir baba... pic.twitter.com/7OFrKVoD07

— Derviş Özkan درويش (@MDervisOZKAN) August 17, 2016

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