The picture was large and detailed in the paper. I was struck by the reality that this two year old child named Ali was just a couple of months older than our granddaughter Alexis. I had just held her in my arms the day before and she was in a pose very similar to the one Ali is in except that she was asleep. Ali died later in the hospital, a casualty of collateral damage caused by a U.S. missile. I read Matt Schofield's commentary...
“'The children of Iraq have lost all sense of humanity,' he said. 'Killing and being killed has become daily routine to them.'
But to children as little as Ali, the world often is limited to immediate surroundings. The walls of their homes, the skirts of their mothers, don’t seem confining as much as comfortable.
So, when he died, he died in the place he must have felt the safest, the place his parents must have known was safe. Instead, it was one of four homes in the area 'destroyed by U.S. missiles.' In the photo, you can sense the panic in the pose of the man, the chalk-covered baby extended above him after he’d been pulled from the rubble. There is a sense that the man believes the boy can still live, if only he runs fast enough, holds him high enough above the deadly ground.
The photo’s caption notes that Ali died later, at a hospital. But in the photo, he’s already striking a death pose. His leg is reminiscent of Marat’s arm in Jacques-Louis David’s painting of death; his face wears the same look of indifference.
In fact, the photo looks like a work of art. It is beautiful, on one level, capturing an intensely human moment. The photo could simply be admired.
Except for the shoes. The tiny sandals on Ali’s feet are a child’s shoes. My sons have worn those same sandals. Those are sandals that should be clomping about the living room, not a piece of collateral damage."
I tried to read this to Vicki and could not. I wept. I hate war. I long for the restoration of all things, for the time when God's Shalom will prevail. Thy Kingdom Come, O Lord, On earth as it is in Heaven.
Read the full story here.