6-year-old invites shell-shocked Syrian boy to live with him

Video of a boy reading a letter he wrote to President Obama asking him to bring a Syrian boy to come live with his family has been viewed more than 10 million times.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
2 min read

We can learn a lot from a 6-year-old boy, says President Barack Obama.

After seeing the heartbreaking photo of Omran Daquneesh, a shell-shocked 5-year-old boy who was wounded in an airstrike in Syria, a 6-year-old from New York named Alex wrote President Obama with a request.

"Can you please go get him and bring him to [my home]?" he said in the handwritten note. "We will give him a family and he will be our brother."

The White House's Facebook page shared a video Wednesday of Alex sitting at his dining room table reading the letter. The video has been viewed more than 10 million times, and it has more than 1,400 comments on Facebook.

"Catherine, my little sister, will be collecting butterflies and fireflies for him," Alex wrote. "In my school, I have a friend from Syria, Omar, and I will introduce him to Omar. We can all play together."

Alex told the president he could park on the street or in the driveway when he drops off Omran, and his family will be waiting with flowers, flags and balloons. He promised to share his toys with the boy and teach him how to ride his bike.

Obama read from Alex's letter at the Leaders' Summit on Refugees at the United Nation's earlier this week.

"Those are the words of a 6-year-old boy -- a young child who has not learned to be cynical or suspicious or fearful of other people because of where they come from, how they look, or how they pray," he said. "We should all be more like Alex. Imagine what the world would look like if we were. Imagine the suffering we could ease and the lives we could save."

At the summit, Obama officially announced plans to increase the number of refugees the US will resettle to 110,000 in fiscal 2017 up from 85,000 in fiscal 2016. The US has exceeded its goal of admitting 10,000 refugees from Syria this fiscal year, which ends September 30.

The UN estimates that in 2015 alone, conflicts and persecution "forcibly displaced" 65.3 million people worldwide, the biggest forced displacement since World War II. The UN has classified 21.3 million of them as refugees. The sheer enormity of those numbers placed a heavy burden on just 10 countries, Obama said. (Read CNET's special report on tech's impact on the refugee crisis in "Life, Disrupted."

You can read Alex's letter on the White House website.