Del­e­gate moved to tears by boy’s pic­ture

New Straits Times - - News -

LANGKAWI: As De­fence Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Hisham­mud­din Hus­sein gave his open­ing speech at yes­ter­day’s Na­tional Trans­for­ma­tion 2050 (TN2050) pro­gramme di­a­logue, Na­ji­hah Azait couldn’t help but cry.

Hisham­mud­din was talk­ing about how Malaysia was a peace­ful coun­try and that there were many coun­tries hit by con­flicts and strife.

As he spoke, screens flashed im­ages from these coun­tries.

He showed a pic­ture of a boy in Syria when times were good.

Then the screen changed to a pic­ture of the same boy af­ter an airstrike in Aleppo.

That pic­ture of Om­ran Daqneesh, a young boy res­cued from the rub­ble in the af­ter­math of the air strike, had gone vi­ral around the world, but judg­ing from the re­ac­tion of the more than 500 youths gath­ered for the di­a­logue, it hadn’t reached them.

Na­ji­hah was prob­a­bly the most af­fected by the im­age of a dusty and blood­ied Om­ran, sit­ting alone in a wait­ing room, un­aware of what had hap­pened to his fam­ily.

Her tears caught Hisham­mud­din’s at­ten­tion and the min­is­ter tried his best to con­sole the 19-year-old Na­tional Ser­vice Vol­un­teer Bri­gade mem­ber, even to the point of of­fer­ing to take a “welfie” with her.

That pic­ture didn’t pan out, but Na­ji­hah man­aged to get a friend to snap a pic­ture with Hisham­mud­din af­ter the di­a­logue.

Speak­ing to the New Sun­day Times later, Na­ji­hah said she was moved by the pic­ture of Om­ran as it re­minded her of her grand­fa­ther, a sol­dier who was killed in ac­tion dur­ing a mis­sion.

“I do not want Malaysia to be like that,” Na­ji­hah said, re­fer­ring to the war in Syria.

Com­ing from a pa­tri­otic fam­ily, Na­ji­hah said she ap­pre­ci­ated the fact that the gov­ern­ment was hold­ing di­a­logue ses­sions with youths to get their views on mov­ing for­ward.

“I re­ally like it (the di­a­logue) be­cause it is ben­e­fi­cial, and with Datuk Seri (Hisham­mud­din)’s ex­pla­na­tion, it gave me a bet­ter view on what the gov­ern­ment is plan­ning to do and as­sured me the coun­try will be a bet­ter na­tion (by 2050) and that sovereignty and safety could be pro­tected.”

Na­ji­hah said she joined the vol­un­teer bri­gade last year but worked full time as a cook.

The di­a­logue ses­sion yes­ter­day saw Hisham­mud­din and Youth and Sports Min­is­ter Khairy Jmalud­din en­gag­ing with more than 500 youths from, among oth­ers, the vol­un­teer bri­gade, Re­serve Of­fi­cers Train­ing Units of Univer­siti Malaya and Univer­siti Per­ta­hanan Na­sional Malaysia.

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