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Dubai Abulhoul: Brave Omran
August 21, 2016
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What a brave little man you were, Omran. I will call you Brave Omran from now on, do you like that name? Oh hold on a minute, don’t rub your eye like that. Don’t worry about the blood on your face, or about the red traces you left on the orange chair you sat on, it can all be cleaned up. See? It’s all gone now.  

Most children play Hide and Seek, you are familiar with that game, aren’t you? No? That’s alright, Brave Omran, I’ll tell you. Hide and Seek is a children’s game, where the seeker counts to ten, and the rest of the players hide. The last player to be found wins the game. You’ve played something very similar, didn’t you? Except that the game is not over, and your little friends are still hiding, aren’t they? Could you tell us where they are hiding, so that we can find them first, before the seeker does?

Please stop touching the wound on your face, Brave Omran. There’s nothing to be scared of, it’s only blood. Many children your age use red face paint on their faces, especially during birthday parties and holidays. Have you ever used face paint before? No? That’s alright, you’re not really missing out on much. Red face paint is just like blood, Brave Omran, it just washes off easier.

Now, how about we play another game? Or how about I tell the world your story? Do you like stories, Brave Omran? I’ll tell the world your story, but you have to cover ears, alright? Alright. The story goes like this: Once upon a time, there was a young boy who — I said cover your ears, Brave Omran, and please stop playing with your wound. It’s just blood, it will wash off. Let me start the story again.

Once upon a time, there was a young boy who lived in Aleppo. His name was Omran. Omran was only five years old when the world interrupted his innocence, and stole his childhood. He spent the first five years of his life in a war, instead of a classroom. He ran away from an airstrike, instead of a water gun. He was covered in blood, instead of love, and he was clothed in fear, instead of affection. 

What a brave little man you were, Omran. See? It’s all gone now. Your blood, your house, your childhood. It’s all gone. There is nothing left for you to worry about, Brave Omran. Nothing at all.

The author is an emirati novelist-writer
Twitter: @DubaiAbulhoul

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