Stand With Aleppo: Be A Real Life Superhero for Syrian Children

Stand With Aleppo: Be A Real Life Superhero for Syrian Children

On a gorgeous day in Manhattan, I am preparing to moderate a panel at New York Comic Con, where thousands of people will pour money into buying pop culture’s latest costumes, toys, and games. The air is alive with the excitement of upcoming celebrity panels, and everyone is hoping to meet their favorite superheroes.

But I am keenly aware that another show is going down in another part of the world. It’s the worst kind of blow ‘em up, bomb ‘em out show, because it is real. There is no happy ending, no safe haven for the terror-stricken citizens of this metropolis.

The Scene

Hell is Aleppo. According to Unicef, there are over 100,000 children under siege in Aleppo, fully one-third of the 300,000 citizens who are trapped in rebel-held areas.  It is a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. We cannot turn away; we cannot escape the repercussions.

The U.S. and Russia are at bitter odds over the crisis in Syria, specifically Russian support of the Assad regime.  In the latest, most horrific developments, hospitals in the crisis areas are being targeted. Make no mistakes about it; bombing a hospital full of civilians is a war crime. It’s a real life version of what happened in The Hunger Games.

The Victims

The actors in this terrible drama are real children. Little boys like Omran Daqneesh, the blood-smeared boy who sat in an ambulance after being rescued, speechless and shocked, acting nothing like the chatty five-year-old boy that he should be. His brother Ali died in the attack.


Omar Daqneesh

There are babies like this injured toddler. Without a mother or father to hold him, the child needed the comforting touch of another human being:

There is the little girl who thought she was picking up a toy, but it was actually a bomb. It exploded and killed her. These aren’t scenes you can dismiss from an action-packed war movie. These are the actual lives and deaths of innocent children. Please don’t look away.

The Heroes

While at NY Comic Con, I will wear my favorite Batman dress, and I’ll be surrounded by cosplayers dressed as amazing, inspiring characters such as Rey, Supergirl, The Flash, Luke Skywalker, Spock and Hermione Granger. But I am thinking of another hero right now.

His name is Omar. He is the last remaining neurosurgeon in Aleppo, one of only thirty doctors left in all of Aleppo. Although unknown and unsung, Omar is a real life superhero. In the picture below, Omar is holding the hand of a tiny victim named baby Doaa.


Omar holding the hand of baby Doaa

There are more heroes in this story. Groups like The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), which is responsible for nearly all medical supplies reaching victims in East Aleppo.  These people are the Jedis of East Aleppo. They need our help and support.

There are heroes called the White Helmets. You may have seen the video of a White Helmet rescue worker sobbing over the baby girl that he carried to safety after freeing her from the rubble of a four-story building in Idlib, outside of Aleppo.

If these images stir your compassion, your outrage, your grief and desire to make change, please #StandWithAleppo.

How To Help

  • Keep up the social media campaign with the hashtag #StandWithAleppo. I learned more about the crisis in Syria this week after two Chicago women launched a social media campaign to stop the bombing, end the siege and get desperately needed food, water and medical supplies into besieged Aleppo. Becky Carroll, President and CEO of C-Strategies and Wendy Widom, CBS2 Social Media Manager, are leading a group of hundreds who are determined to help end the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. In a day, their #StandWithAleppo campaign reached 1.5 million newsfeed on Twitter and many more people on Facebook. They say this is only the beginning.
  • Share the stories of the real life superheroes and victims in East Aleppo.
  • Share this cartoon that Liza Donnelly of the New Yorker made for the #StandWithAleppo campaign:


If we as a society devote even a small percentage of the attention and money to Aleppo that we are spending on our favorite shows at New York Comic Con, then we can save some of the lives of society’s most vulnerable members.  I’ll be thinking about this as I moderate my Comic Con panel on Becoming a Superhero In Real Life for the Pop Culture Hero CoalitionMay the Force Be With You, With Aleppo, and With Us All.

Carrie Goldman is an award-winning author, speaker, and bullying prevention educator. Follow Carrie’s blog Portrait of an Adoption on Facebook and Twitter

To continue receiving posts from the fabulous blog Portrait of an Adoption, simply type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button.


IMG_8907 bulled.jpg


Leave a comment