opinion

If this were your little boy, wouldn't you do anything you could to keep him safe?

Look at this boy.

It isn’t easy. Every instinct urges you to turn away. But don’t. Look at him.

This is Omran Daqneesh. He is five years old. He lives in Aleppo, Syria. On Wednesday night, his home was bombed and he was pulled from the rubble, bloodied and dazed.

Doctors told the ABC that they don’t know what has happened to his parents.

Omran’s confused, he’s alone and he’s hurt. His mother isn’t there to comfort him and he is surrounded by shouting strangers in a chaotic night.

He knows his face is wet. He doesn’t know why, and raises his hand to touch it. He sees the blood, and, in a gesture common to small boys all over the world, he wipes his wet hand on his seat.

Look at Omran rub the blood into his chair and tell me: If this was your reality, if this was a live possibility of what might happen to your child, your children, on any night that they slept in their homes, wouldn’t you do anything you could to get them away, to get them to safety, to keep them from harm?

Wouldn’t you do anything to try make sure that Omran was not your child?

If this was your reality, wouldn’t fleeing, leaving your home and your family and friends and everything you know, wouldn’t that make sense? More sense that staying and risking this, leaving your child alone in the rubble of their home on a dark night?

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Wouldn’t you do anything?

Would it matter that you had no idea if where you were going was going to welcome you? Or whether the journey would be perilous, or how many had gone before you, or whether you were ticking the correct bureaucratic boxes?

Omran being lifted into a van. (Screenshot: AMC)

If this was your child, wouldn't you do anything?

Now, draw a line. Draw a line between Omran, sitting in the back of an ambulance, and the queues of refugees on your TV, on your news sites.

Draw a line between Omran looking, confused, at the blood on his hand, and the people who risk their lives on treacherous seas to end up imprisoned and desperate in one of Australia's hellish offshore "processing centres".

Draw a line between Omran, who doesn't know if his parents are alive or dead, and Donald Trump railing against islamic immigration to the US.

Draw a line between Omran's dazed expression and the rhetoric we have become almost immune to in Australia and Europe - "queue jumpers", of being "swamped" by "illegal immigrants".

A Syrian child held in offshore detention. (Image: Facebook)

Simplistic? Yes. But it's also the kernel of truth at the heart of a global crisis.

Five years ago, the population of Syria was similar in size to that of Australia, according to the UNHCR. And then the civil war began, and since, five million people have fled the country, and more than six million are homeless within Syria itself.

If Omran's fate was the fate of your child, wouldn't you be one of them?

It's true, the war in Syria is not of Australia's making. It is not your fault that the world is a troubled place.

But look at Omran's face, and say that you don't understand why refugees - from Syria, from Yemen, from Afghanistan, from Somalia and Sudan - would risk it all to get their families to safety.

Of course you do. Of course you would. You would do anything.

Donate to the United Nations Refugee Agency, here.

You can follow Holly on Facebook, here

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