I’ve found a new hero.
Someone with purity of heart. Someone who has retained his innocence. You see, he hasn’t yet had time to learn the cruel lessons that life bestows on us with time. That’s not to say he hasn’t witnessed them, they just have not become ingrained in him. He practices the Thumper principle to the nth degree: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” He’s not yet afraid to communicate what’s in his soul for fear of mockery. Oh, if it could always be so.
Pete Souza is a photojournalist by trade. He served as Chief Official White House Photographer for President Barack Obama. He’s seen it all to the point of 20K photos per week. In 2011, he was included on the list of Washington’s Most-Powerful, Least-Important People.
Pete’s Instagram post of 2 days ago was indeed powerful and extremely important. I can feel the beginning of a flame ready to ignite my spirit, just a flicker now, but it’s a start.
The turmoil in my soul from the events of the last two weeks has left me burdened, emotionally bankrupt. I’m in anguish over how we have systematically determined who is worthy to be amongst us. In doing so, we are measuring the value of a human life.
Building walls, exclusion by, could it be, race and religion? I have to agree with those much more scholarly than I. These actions are reminiscent of the 1939 rumblings of German politics and, a few years later, the Warsaw Ghetto.
I’ll say it again. What affects one of us affects all of us. Then comes Pete’s post. Let me copy it for you here:
Remember Alex, the six-year-old boy who wrote President Obama a letter about the Syrian boy photographed in the ambulance. Alex visited the Oval Office with his family the day after the election.
“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]? 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. Thank you very much! I can’t wait for you to come! ” Alex 6 years old
Yes, Alex is my hero. He holds close the values which I wish could be foremost in my mind always. He already at 6 years embodies the qualities of kindness our forefathers have taught us. He sees the good and not the bad, he is shining through example, he is paying forward the kindness that has been bestowed upon him. He is a gift.
Alex, may you continue to illuminate the world with your smile and courage. May you follow your heart always, follow your bliss. Remember your words are powerful, that your words and your actions can change the world.
Years ago, a good man said heartfelt words about his brother. I copy them now because they speak of your character as well:
“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope. And crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
“Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.”
Thank you, Alex, for rekindling some hope in this old soul.
And eternal thanks to you, Pete, for spreading this message of hope and inspiration.
Here is Alex and his Syrian brother
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