Every picture tells a story

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Every picture tells a story. Some are more pleasant than others. Even though the picture went viral, I first saw the above photo of a tiny Syrian refugee girl while going through the Catholic wire services for stories to run in this week’s Anchor.

I couldn’t scroll past it. My eyes were drawn to the fear and sadness in the cherub’s eyes. My eyes were drawn to her biting her lip. My eyes were drawn to her tiny hands raised above her head indicating surrender and that she wasn’t a threat.

Why did she strike such a haunting pose? She thought the camera pointing at her was a gun. It’s worth repeating. She thought the camera pointing at her was a gun.

This is the world in which this little girl lives. She doesn’t know what a Muslim is. She doesn’t know what a Christian is. She doesn’t know what a Jew is. She does know what a gun is. She knows what a gun can do. She knows that she’s living in squalor, far from the home she spent her short life in before mankind reared its ugly head in the fashion of terrorists, separatists, insurgents, and greed mongers.

This photo was taken in December, when the little boys and girls we know who are that age were opening Christmas gifts cheerfully wrapped, concealing toys and games and goodies.

While that was going on, this little girl was assuming the surrender position — for a camera, no less.

While we were hiding Easter eggs, attending Mass in our new Easter best, enjoying a feast of ham or turkey last week, God knows what this little girl was doing — or if she is even still alive.

It’s not our fault that we are blessed enough to enjoy the things and people we have around us. This isn’t a guilt trip.

But it’s not the refugees’ fault that they’re surrounded by whom and what they are either.

I will never understand how man can mistreat his fellow man in such horrible ways. I know that people say everything happens for a reason, but I will never understand the reason for a little girl raising her arms in surrender for a camera lens. I will never understand “human beings” filming the beheadings of other human beings simply because of their beliefs.

I will never understand “human beings” raiding a college campus, asking if someone is a Christian and when the response is affirmative, murdering them on the spot.

I know this has been going on since Cain bludgeoned Abel, but I’ll never understand it.

Every picture tells a story. I want to see better pictures than what we see every day.

I would give anything to hand this little girl an Easter egg; to have Igor lick her face and hear her giggle; to tuck her into a nice warm bed after a good-night story. But the best I can do for her is pray and hope the next time she raises her hands it’s out of joy.


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