The Forgotten Faces of Syria

How viral images from the Syrian Crisis are quickly forgotten


Mahmoud Raslan

Snapshot from the video of Omran Daqnees in the back of an ambulance following his rescue

EmilyH, Staff Reporter

Blank, lifeless and shell-shocked eyes capture your attention as you look at the image of five-year-old Omran Daqnees. He is carried to the back of an ambulance following his rescue from a bombed building in Syria- completely covered in dirt, dust and blood with no real idea on what is going on around him. Sadly, an image like this is just another daily sight in the life of the rescue teams working in this area. Omran was born into this life. A life where loss of family, home, history and belonging is normal. A life of war.

This photo has been plastered across news articles and social media provoking millions of voices speaking together in outrage.  Thousands are pouring their money into donations and putting out tweets about how something should be done. But unfortunately, this happens often and it always ends the same way. A photo of a young, war-torn child is released and temporarily there is sympathy. Temporarily people notice the young children like Omran. But it quickly becomes old news, and the children are again forgotten.

Consider prominent media coverage from Syria last year. There are a few that can quickly recall the story of young Alan Kurdi, a toddler who was found on the banks of a Turkish beach after drowning in his flee from Syria. That story is not remembered by many, because the public and the media have moved on. Then there were the pictures of the eerily doll-like bodies of children in the Ghouta region, killed from a chemical weapon attack. These photos-these kids-are forgotten after they get an initial viral streak and someone temporarily shows their sympathy.

Over and over again, nothing lasting is done. There is outrage from the public while the UN discusses and does nothing until the next viral image comes out. Omran should not be an Instagram post or a tweet or simply a headline picture. He is the face of the suffering from a war that must end. We should not forget this image of a bloody child. Something must be done.

The first step is to ask what can be done? There are many different things, but one important step is the UN, or even Congress, stepping up to the plate. The US currently has millions of dollars being poured into other faucets. An example of this funding is “the DoD [or Department of Defense] . . . spend[ing] $500 million annually on marching bands” (find out more of these facts in Laura Gottesdiener Salon article; links can be found at the bottom of this page). A way to cause major change would be redirecting of these funds in to pay for supplies and relief efforts on the ground in Syria to help some of the victims of this violence. It is also possible to find many petitions to congress online with a simple search. By doing this, you can give your voice to the voiceless.

One thing you can do is stay educated on the topic. Know what is going on in the world around you, and keep yourself updated. It is easy to become trapped in peaceful hometown news, but there is a war going on and people are dying and being displaced. Already, thousands have died horrible and needless deaths and many more are still in places of extreme suffering and poverty. Syrians need help, and they need it now. Do not forget Omran.




On resettling of Syrians

Stopping Bombing

Stopping Bombing

Funding for food

Humanitarian Assistance


Laura Gottesdiener’s article on military spending