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This comment and hymn on the Methodist Church website was written in response to the photo of five-year-old Omran Daqneesh — "the boy in the ambulance" — rescued from a bombed building in Allepo, Syria, in August 2016.

"Syria's civil war has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians, including many children. The shared video images of Omran Daqneesh (for example Huffington Post), shocked and covered in dust and ash, wiping blood from his face, has drawn further attention to a conflict as complex as it is devastating. It is an image, as Andrew Pratt's hymn suggests, that asks questions of the worldwide Christian community as much as of Western governments."

The Boy in the Ambulance
Words © Andrew Pratt 18 August 2016

A bloodied child foreshadowed by a cross,
both share their taste of evil and of loss,
and when will people ever live and learn
that hurt and harm is all that war can earn?

We hold our breath in horror as we view
this scene forever old, forever new;
amid the dust and rubble strewn around
a child cries out and parents can't be found.

How long, O Lord we cry, each hollow word,
our pleas of peace increasingly absurd?
Good God, forgive us when inaction's voice
speaks loudly of our violent, hurtful choice.

Metre: 10.10.10.10.

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