Title: Another child from Oslo By: Abdul-Aziz Ali Omer
Author: Abdul-Aziz Ali Omer
Date: 03-02-2014, 08:19 PM
Another child from Oslo
By: Abdul-Aziz Ali Omer
I have plunged into others worries to stay recluse from my own pain, to breathe a sigh of relief on the shores of Oslo, the Norway winter capital. The light morning haze revealed a child sitting on a pavement shivering on a cold February day. The Norwegian on-lookers seemed less frosty and thawed in a paternal affection to give a warm cover. Their humility and compassion is a testament to their country positive reaction to the plight of Syrian people. The child’s initiative is the public face of Norway humanitarianism. The child defied the biting cold to garner warmth to his peers in Damascus and other cities under death and siege. The Syrian child tragedy touched the sensibility of Allan Rose to write: You have black eyes…four years of age…cast-off coat…The guns rattled. The last warmth spilled on villages where once you were one of family that died…”
The Norwegian child who resisted Oslo cold revived in my mind another child from Sudan. That was unaffected disturbing image of a child collapsed on ground and a vulture stalked him as he struggled to get to food distribution point in the famine of1993. Last week, the world witnessed a tiger cub. Initially, it looked gaunt, exhausted and after taking it’s fill of bottled milk, with wide, happy, healthy and grateful eyes smiled to the camera.
It would have been commendable if Kevin Carter, the South African photo-journalist were spotted feeding the Sudanese child instead of shooing away the vulture and leaving him as a bait to the camera to hunt Pulitzer prize. Twelve month ahead in 1994, the world heard Kevin’s family wail. Kevin took his life. Some of observers believed it was as result of a fatal guilt for he would have saved the child if he could. Others said he has drug or alcohol problems. What Kevin needed wasn’t Pulitzer Prize but love and a clear conscience. Kevin didn’t tell the world about the fate of Sudanese child. Did he become a prey of an eagle or a citizen in South Sudan whose people retraced their steps back North in quest of peace.
The first assumption is an honour for Kevin while the second one for us as sober dutiful Muslims shame us.
In a period of our Islamic history, we were in an enviable and admirable position of caring for the most vulnerable and ignored in our society. Omer Bin Khatab, an early Muslim governor in one of his nightly disguised tour to assess living condition of his subjects; he heard a deceptive sound of cooking to silence starved children. He carried a load of flour and cooked by himself to that family .He didn’t leave until he became assured that they were satisfied.