There is not a person in the world whose heart shouldn't break up a little bit from reading a headline like, “13 year old boy tortured and murdered...” regardless of where the child is from or the circumstances surrounding him. We know there is evil in the world and sadness from inside our own homes to all across the globe. It's a little harder pill to swallow though, when the bad guys doing the evil deeds are the very ones who have control over you.
The savagery of the Assad regime may not be new, but targeting a child in this way is. Hamza's family is among the protesters trying to overthrow the ruthless government and they paid a high price for their cause. Hamza was taken away from his family, tortured, belittled, mangled, broken, and his remains returned to his family one month later. The Assad regime was making an example of him and warned the family not to talk of the incident. Foreign journalists are banned. The family defiantly filmed Hamza's body and posted details of the event on YouTube. Hamza's father has since disappeared.
On May 19th President Obama had strong words for the Syrian President, demanding him to transition to a democratic, human right's respecting government or “get out of the way.” Reaction to this is mixed across the board. There are Syrian's who support Assad, and even some that don't say that they don't want to be saved, it is their battle to fight. There are Americans who resent United States efforts in foreign lands, especially at a time when their own country is in turmoil. Those people especially need to know Hamza's story and put a face to all the atrocities they hear about and dismiss, being too far away to connect with the pain, and too concerned with their own little bubble to care.
In his country, Hamza has become a powerful symbol of Syria's uprising. His death has breathed new energy into the movement. I hope to the rest of the world, Hamza puts a face on the pain and suffering that we often ignore, because it's happening too far away to connect with or because it's none of our business. But I believe that the only thing really separating one country from another is distance. If you're a religious person you know that God didn't create countries and states, he created a world. If you believe in science you know that dinoaurs were not roaming "America" and "Australia." I would remind my fellow Americans that as they research their family trees they won't have to go back too far before they're tracing their family right out of the United States. I hope that Hamza will remind people that we are not a collection of nations, we are all brothers in a world. And regardless of what we are capable of doing about any given situation, we can no more turn a blind eye to horrors on the other side of the world than we can to those happening in our own backyards. We all owe it to the world that sustains us to be aware of its happenings and care for all who inhabit it. We owe it to young Hamza to make his suffering mean something.