The big picture matters. Yesterday a heart-wrenching photo on Twitter spread wildly. It appeared to show a little boy separated from his family as they fled Syria’s violence: “UN staff found 4 year-old Marwan crossing desert alone after being separated from family…”
— Hala Gorani (@HalaGorani) February 17, 2014
After we’d wrung our hands raw about the poor kid, hours later, the full story emerged: the Tweet showed only a tiny portion of a busy crowd scene — and while the boy was not actually close enough to hold hands with his family members, they were there.
— Andrew Harper (@And_Harper) February 18, 2014
Bearing witness to the carnage in Syria is the least we can do. But being duped by exaggeration stings a little. And it’s just the kind of little sting that inoculates us from compassion and causes us to look away next time.
— Deborah Jones
For analysis that places Syria in the bigger global picture and explains the political players and what is at stake, read Jonathan Manthorpe’s columns (subscription required):, Arab Spring still waiting to blossom; Iran and United States join against common foes; and Syria’s Gordian knot will not easily be cut.