Letter from Alex

by John Allen


Dear President Obama,

Remember the boy who was picked up by the ambulance in Syria? Can you please go get him and bring him to [my home]? Park in the driveway or on the street and we will be waiting for you guys with flags, flowers, and balloons. We will give him a family and he will be our brother. Catherine, my little sister, will be collecting butterflies and fireflies for him. In my school, I have a friend from Syria, Omar, and I will introduce him to Omar. We can all play together. We can invite him to birthday parties and he will teach us another language. We can teach him English too, just like my friend Aoto from Japan.

Please tell him that his brother will be Alex who is a very kind boy, just like him. Since he won't bring toys and doesn't have toys Catherine will share her big blue stripy white bunny. And I will share my bike and I will teach him how to ride it. I will teach him additions and subtractions in math. And he [can] smell Catherine's lip gloss penguin which is green. She doesn't let anyone touch it.

Thank you very much! I can't wait for you to come!

Alex - 6 years old

Last month President Obama read this touching letter from a 6 year old American named Alex. Alex was struck by the image of a young Syrian boy who sat, shocked and alone, in an ambulance, covered with dust from an explosion.
When I heard Alex’s letter, I was moved, as were so many, by this simple and straightforward expression of compassion. I was inspired by his desire to do what good he could to heal the pain of the world. I loved how his imagination was unencumbered by the global political complexities that make the arrangement he envisions seem impossible.
But Alex’s words also plucked a theological chord in my heart.
“He will be our brother.”
One of the most scandalous things about Jesus’ early followers is they way the insisted they were siblings. No matter what else might have divided them. Class, culture, origin, and race all seemed to fade away as they met the image of God in one another.
That is the simple scandalizing truth that also lies beneath the global refugee crisis. As much as this is a complex consequence of even more complex geopolitical factors. It is also a simple failure of us to care for our siblings.
Refugees are our brothers, our sisters, our siblings.
I am grateful to Alex for reminding us how we are supposed to treat our siblings.   
— Rev. John Allen, Immigration and Refugee Justice Task Team

John Allen

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