New York boy asks Barack Obama to send 5-year-old Syrian refugee to his house so he can be part of family

Mr Obama called Alex a 'child who has not learned to be cynical or suspicious or fearful of other people because of where they come from, how they look, or how they pray'

Alexandra Sims
Thursday 22 September 2016 12:35 BST
6 year old letter to President Obama

A six-year-old boy has been praised by Barack Obama after asking the President to help him offer a Syrian refugee a home with his family.

Last month, pictures of a young Syrian boy covered in dust and blood from a devastating air strike became a symbol of the suffering endured by civilians living under relentless bombardment in the country’s brutal civil war.

Harrowing images of five-year-old Omran Daqneesh sitting dazed and silent in an ambulance after he was pulled from a destroyed family home hit by bombing in a rebel-held area of Aleppo provoked outrage across the world and intensified calls for an immediate ceasefire.

The picture struck a chord with six-year-old Alex from New York who wrote a letter to President Obama asking him bring Omran to his home saying, “We will give him a family and he will be our brother."

Mr Obama shared Alex’s letter on Facebook, calling him a "child who has not learned to be cynical or suspicious or fearful of other people because of where they come from, how they look, or how they pray", in a post that has garnered more than 121,000 likes.

“Dear President Obama, Remember the boy who was picked up by the ambulance in Syria? Can you please go get him and bring him to [my home]?", Alex's letter, which has been published by the White House reads.

"Park in the driveway or on the street and we will be waiting for you guys with flags, flowers, and balloons. We will give him a family and he will be our brother. Catherine, my little sister, will be collecting butterflies and fireflies for him. In my school, I have a friend from Syria, Omar, and I will introduce him to Omar. We can all play together. We can invite him to birthday parties and he will teach us another language. We can teach him English too, just like my friend Aoto from Japan.

“Please tell him that his brother will be Alex who is a very kind boy, just like him. Since he won't bring toys and doesn't have toys Catherine will share her big blue stripy white bunny. And I will share my bike and I will teach him how to ride it. I will teach him additions and subtractions in math. And he [can] smell Catherine's lip gloss penguin which is green. She doesn't let anyone touch it. "

A section of Alex's letter
A section of Alex's letter (The White House)

Alex has also been praised by the public. Commenting on Mr Obama’s post, Amanda Keller called Alex: “A six year old who has more humanity, love, and understanding than most adults.” While Pamela Moore O’Loughlin said: “Neither of these sweet little boys, someone's sons, are Skittles,” referring to a tweet by Donald Trump Jr likening Syrian refugees to poisoned skittles.

The President quoted the letter to world leaders gathered at this week’s United Nations Summit on Refugees, saying: “We should all be more like Alex. Imagine what the world would look like if we were. Imagine the suffering we could ease and the lives we could save.”

Wednesday’s summit hosted by Mr Obama garnered pledges from dozens of countries to resettle or allow the lawful admission of some 360,000 refugees, doubling the number of slots that were available last year, the US envoy to the United Nations said.

More than 50 countries and international organizations that participated in the summit had collectively increased their contributions to humanitarian groups and UN appeals this year by some $4.5 billion (£3.5 billion), Mr Obama said.

However, the number is "still only a fraction" of what is needed Ambassador Samantha Power said after the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) assessed that some 1.2 million refugees need to be resettled.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in