As Aleppo’s barrel bombs fail to make headlines, children suffer

Have you seen the photo of the boy hanging from a destroyed concrete roof in Aleppo while holding a barrel bomb that fell on his house?

Diana Moukalled
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Have you seen the photo of the boy hanging from a destroyed concrete roof in Aleppo while holding a barrel bomb that fell on his house?

The photo shows the upper part of a young covered in dust. It showed him hanging through a concrete roof which apparently fell due to the barrel bomb that landed in his arms. Look closely at his small powerless hands.

We may not find a picture that reflects the Syrian situation as much as this one does: There’s a boy from Aleppo who narrates the story of all Syrians and there’s a barrel bomb that represents the regime’s killing machine.

We are stuck here, between the child and the barrel bomb. We wouldn’t be exaggerating if we consider this photo an absurd lesson to he who wants to learn the ABC’s of the Syrian tragedy. Didn’t the Syrian revolution begin with children drawing graffiti, only to be later punished by the regime who allegedly pulled out their nails and imprisoned them?


We are humans who suffer from frustration and can even have enough of images of death and pain. Perhaps many have really had enough of photos depicting Syrian death. However, this photo of the child and the barrel bomb in Aleppo takes back the Syrian formula to its main essence: What has the Baathist regime done to the Syrian people?

Collective murder

Syrian intellectuals and authors currently discuss the fact that the past four years have become tantamount to a memory of collective murder and death documented by photos. It’s true as no other case is documented via footage as much as the Syrian one has been. The photo of the boy from Aleppo represents a direct and clear cut message to those who have been turning a blind eye.

Yes, the regime’s barrel bombs are said to be falling on the heads of real people.

It’s a painful photo that depicts the terror which most of us cannot even imagine.

Around 100 people died due to barrel bombs’ shelling on Aleppo in the past few days. News of these barrel bombs and victims are no longer interesting enough to be headlines of newspapers and highlights of news bulletins. We got used to death and became familiar with the associated photos. We’ve even gotten used to images depicting extremely graphic content.

Death itself is no longer an important piece of news or detail. Let’s resume our preoccupation with analyzing the movements of Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds unit, who travels between Iraq and Syria. Let’s continue to follow up on the series of statements made by al-Nusra Front leader Abu Mohammed al-Golani as we try to figure out why he hides his face.

As for the father of that child from Aleppo, he sits in tears near that destroyed building for hours as he holds his hands to his heart where his unbearable pain lies.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on June 10, 2015.


Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in AlSharq AlAwsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV. She can be found on Twitter: @dianamoukalled.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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