Clockwise from top left: Residents flee the rebel-held besieged town of Douma, eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria. Bassam Khabieh, Reuters; Still image of Omran Daqneesh moments after an air strike devastated his home in Aleppo. Social media; a wounded Syrian child in a hospital bed in the northeastern city of Qamishli . Delil Souleiman/AFP; an injured Syrian boy cries as he awaits treatment at the makeshift clinic in the rebel-held town of Douma. Abd Doumany/AFP
Clockwise from top left: Residents flee the rebel-held besieged town of Douma, eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria. Bassam Khabieh, Reuters; Still image of Omran Daqneesh moments after an air strShow more

Why Omran Daqneesh’s image did what thousands of others couldn’t

BEIRUT // The war in Syria delivers an overwhelming flood of devastating images every day: dead and dying children, summary executions, the faces of terrified, starving civilians living under siege and entire neighbourhoods destroyed by bombs.

But last week when a Syrian activist in Aleppo captured images of five-year-old Omran Daqneesh moments after an air strike devastated his home, something was different. Rather than being forgotten, the photo was splashed across the front pages of newspapers across the world, including The National.

What was it about this picture that captured global attention in a way that other powerful photos from the conflict have not? Such images are seen and dismissed – or at least readily forgotten – every day.

Many are too graphic to be published, while others are hard to relate to for people who have never lived under bombardment, gone hungry or faced the constant prospect of death.

The pictures of Omran show the young boy sitting dazed in an orange seat, his dust and blood covered body contrasting sharply with the ambulance’s bright, sterile interior. In a video showing his rescue, Omran looks around at his new surroundings, seeming lost, and rubs his bloody face with his left hand. He glances down at his palm, pauses at the sight of his blood and rubs it on the seat. In shock, he doesn’t cry or make any noise. At five years old, Omran’s entire life has been lived in Syria’s war.

“There’s something about the boy that makes you want to go and protect him, makes you want to go hug him and protect him from everything he’s just seen and what he’s been through,” said Bissan Fakih, deputy campaign director at The Syria Campaign, a pro-opposition advocacy group.

The photo resonated not only in the West, where there is significantly less exposure to Syria’s civil war and other conflicts in the region, but also in the Arab world, where images of the conflict are often inescapable.

“The real frightening thing about the Omran photo is not only what it tells us about him and the suffering of innocent children, but the fact that this kind of killing and near killing and suffering is going on at a large scale all over the Arab world and has been going on for the last 30 to 40 years,” said Rami Khouri, senior fellow at the American University of Beirut’s Issam Fares Institute. To the Arab world, the photo of Omran is a reminder that “this kind of thing can happen to us tomorrow”.

Ms Fakih said she feels photos like that of Omran help simplify a complicated war, allowing broader engagement with viewers.

“It takes all the myriad complications of Syria – which is ISIS, the Kurds and the Russians and who is doing this, which rebel group just switched allegiances – and becomes about this scared little boy.”

Brian Kerrigan, The National’s photo editor, said the simplicity of the picture of Omran forced the viewer to connect with the subject.

“The composition is very simple and direct with the interior of the ambulance offering no distractions to the viewer – you only look directly at Omran,” he said. “I think because we make such direct eye contact with him it really triggers something parental in us all – he’s looking at us like he’d look at his mother or father, wondering what happened and why.”

But iconic photos do not often equate to change.

A year ago, a photo of the body of a three-year-old Syrian-Kurdish boy washed up on the beach near the Turkish city of Bodrum stirred similar emotions. Alan Kurdi drowned as his family tried to reach Greece from Turkey, a journey taken by hundreds of thousands. The photo elicited a passionate response and built global awareness about the refugee crisis. But Europe did not open its borders – instead, it eventually enforced measures that slowed the wave of migrants to a trickle. Merchants on Turkey’s Aegean coast continued to peddle life jackets that did not float and greedy smugglers continued to overcrowd boats they knew were not seaworthy.

“When the phrase ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ was coined I don’t think anyone envisaged a time when we’d have thousands and thousands of images delivered to us daily,” said Kerrigan. “Our attention and compassion is being pulled in different directions minute by minute. There are still historically significant images being made, but the time the public has to appreciate, discuss and debate those images by the time something new comes along has gone from weeks or months to minutes.”

While the picture of Omran has resulted in attention and outpourings of sympathy and sadness, many of the child casualties of Syria’s war go completely unnoticed. Omran’s ten-year-old brother died on Saturday, injured in the same air strike. His sister was wounded as well and appears in some photos sitting near him in the ambulance, though not in the most widely circulated photos.

The war in Syria has derailed the lives of an entire generation of Syrian children and very few will see their names recognised. Kids die every day in the conflict and more are wounded. Many – both in and out of the country – have never been to school or have been out of school for years. Those who have made it out of the country might be safe, but their lives are not easy. They beg on the streets of Beirut and in Turkish border towns. Many are forced into low-paying manual labour jobs to help keep their families afloat. Their futures are calculated in days, weeks and months, not years.

Back in Syria, militias recruit and sometimes even force children to join their ranks. ISIL has abducted and recruited children, brainwashing them with a hateful ideology. In an attack blamed on the group in Gaziantep, Turkey, on Saturday, a suicide bomber believed to be as young as 12 killed more than 50 people. While the identity of the bomber has not yet been confirmed, there is a good chance he was Syrian.

Omran is alive, but life is not likely to be easy for him or countless other child survivors of the wars in Syria and elsewhere in the region today.

“I wonder what kind of future is this kid going to have?” said Mr Khouri. “It’s not just the helplessness or the dehumanisation of this little kid, it’s the hopelessness of his life and his generation that is a reality for so many people in some Arab countries today.”​

The five pillars of Islam

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

The years Ramadan fell in May






Chelsea 4 

Jorginho (4 pen, 71 pen), Azpilicueta (63), James (74)

Ajax 4

Abraham (2 og), Promes (20). Kepa (35 og), van de Beek (55) 




Stage 7:
1. Adam Yates (GBR) UAE Team Emirates – 3hrs 29min 42ses
2. Remco Evenepoel (BEL) Soudal Quick-Step – 10sec
3. Geoffrey Bouchard (FRA) AG2R Citroen Team – 42sec
General Classification:
1. Remco Evenepoel (BEL) Soudal Quick-Step
2. Lucas Plapp (AUS) Ineos Grenaders – 59se
3. Adam Yates (GBR) UAE Team Emirates –60sec
Red Jersey (General Classification): Remco Evenepoel (BEL) Soudal Quick-Step
Green Jersey (Points Classification): Tim Merlier (BEL) Soudal Quick-Step
White Jersey (Young Rider Classification): Remco Evenepoel (BEL) Soudal Quick-Step
Black Jersey (Intermediate Sprint Classification): Edward Planckaert (FRA) Alpecin-Deceuninck

Seven tips from Emirates NBD

1. Never respond to e-mails, calls or messages asking for account, card or internet banking details

2. Never store a card PIN (personal identification number) in your mobile or in your wallet

3. Ensure online shopping websites are secure and verified before providing card details

4. Change passwords periodically as a precautionary measure

5. Never share authentication data such as passwords, card PINs and OTPs  (one-time passwords) with third parties

6. Track bank notifications regarding transaction discrepancies

7. Report lost or stolen debit and credit cards immediately

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

Movie: Saheb, Biwi aur Gangster 3

Producer: JAR Films

Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia

Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Jimmy Sheirgill, Mahie Gill, Chitrangda Singh, Kabir Bedi

Rating: 3 star

Company profile

Company name: Shipsy
Year of inception: 2015
Founders: Soham Chokshi, Dhruv Agrawal, Harsh Kumar and Himanshu Gupta
Based: India, UAE and Indonesia
Sector: logistics
Size: more than 350 employees
Funding received so far: $31 million in series A and B rounds
Investors: Info Edge, Sequoia Capital’s Surge, A91 Partners and Z3 Partners


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

THE BIO: Martin Van Almsick

Hometown: Cologne, Germany

Family: Wife Hanan Ahmed and their three children, Marrah (23), Tibijan (19), Amon (13)

Favourite dessert: Umm Ali with dark camel milk chocolate flakes

Favourite hobby: Football

Breakfast routine: a tall glass of camel milk

F1 2020 calendar

March 15 - Australia, Melbourne; March 22 - Bahrain, Sakhir; April 5 - Vietnam, Hanoi; April 19 - China, Shanghai; May 3 - Netherlands, Zandvoort; May 20 - Spain, Barcelona; May 24 - Monaco, Monaco; June 7 - Azerbaijan, Baku; June 14 - Canada, Montreal; June 28 - France, Le Castellet; July 5 - Austria, Spielberg; July 19 - Great Britain, Silverstone; August 2 - Hungary, Budapest; August 30 - Belgium, Spa; September 6 - Italy, Monza; September 20 - Singapore, Singapore; September 27 - Russia, Sochi; October 11 - Japan, Suzuka; October 25 - United States, Austin; November 1 - Mexico City, Mexico City; November 15 - Brazil, Sao Paulo; November 29 - Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi.

Summer special

Alita: Battle Angel

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Stars: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Keean Johnson

Four stars

Story of 2017-18 so far and schedule to come

Roll of Honour

Who has won what so far in the West Asia rugby season?


Western Clubs Champions League

Winners: Abu Dhabi Harlequins

Runners up: Bahrain


Dubai Rugby Sevens

Winners: Dubai Exiles

Runners up: Jebel Ali Dragons


West Asia Premiership

Winners: Jebel Ali Dragons

Runners up: Abu Dhabi Harlequins


UAE Premiership Cup

Winners: Abu Dhabi Harlequins

Runners up: Dubai Exiles




West Asia Cup final

5pm, Bahrain (6pm UAE time), Bahrain v Dubai Exiles


West Asia Trophy final

3pm, The Sevens, Dubai Hurricanes v Dubai Sports City Eagles


Friday, April 13

UAE Premiership final

5pm, Al Ain, Dubai Exiles v Abu Dhabi Harlequins


Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through and

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Indoor cricket in a nutshell

Indoor Cricket World Cup - Sep 16-20, Insportz, Dubai

16 Indoor cricket matches are 16 overs per side

8 There are eight players per team

9 There have been nine Indoor Cricket World Cups for men. Australia have won every one.

5 Five runs are deducted from the score when a wickets falls

4 Batsmen bat in pairs, facing four overs per partnership

Scoring In indoor cricket, runs are scored by way of both physical and bonus runs. Physical runs are scored by both batsmen completing a run from one crease to the other. Bonus runs are scored when the ball hits a net in different zones, but only when at least one physical run is score.


A Front net, behind the striker and wicketkeeper: 0 runs

B Side nets, between the striker and halfway down the pitch: 1 run

C Side nets between halfway and the bowlers end: 2 runs

D Back net: 4 runs on the bounce, 6 runs on the full


1 Esha Oza, age 26, 79 matches

2 Theertha Satish, age 20, 66 matches

3 Khushi Sharma, age 21, 65 matches

4 Kavisha Kumari, age 21, 79 matches

5 Heena Hotchandani, age 23, 16 matches

6 Rinitha Rajith, age 18, 34 matches

7 Samaira Dharnidharka, age 17, 53 matches

8 Vaishnave Mahesh, age 17, 68 matches

9 Lavanya Keny, age 17, 33 matches

10 Siya Gokhale, age 18, 33 matches

11 Indhuja Nandakumar, age 18, 46 matches

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days


Director: Ali Abbas Zafar

Starring: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Sunil Grover

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

How champions are made

7am - Protein shake with oats and fruits
10am - 5-6 egg whites
1pm - White rice or chapati (Indian bread) with chicken
4pm - Dry fruits
7.30pm - Pre workout meal – grilled fish or chicken with veggies and fruits
8.30pm to midnight workout
12.30am – Protein shake
Total intake: 4000-4500 calories
Saidu’s weight: 110 kg
Stats: Biceps 19 inches. Forearms 18 inches


Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)