Clutching a teddy bear in one arm and a balloon in another, the little boy with a deep scar under his eye looked up and asked in Arabic, very gently... almost a whisper: "Khala (aunt) Rym. Can I have toothpaste for my sisters and I?"
"It's a pleasure to go and help these people who have problems. We feel good. We feel proud of doing this work. We are really happy and if people need something and you come and you provide it, they are really happy."
Many things make the U.S. a military superpower, and not all of them involve blowing things up. The airdrops of food, water, and other supplies to besieged Yazidi civilians in Iraq highlight a corner of the U.S. military has particular usefulness for humanitarian purposes.
Every 6-year-old in Gaza is now living through the third war in their life. Aside from the risks they face of being injured or killed, one cannot begin to fathom what this means for their long-term mental health and well-being.
This is 2014, when hundreds of angry protesters in Murietta, California, chant "USA, USA, USA" while blocking a busload of hungry, tired, lonely children from a long journey in search of a concrete floor to serve as a bed.
Teenagers joining extremist groups are a growing sign of the desperation facing young Syrian refugees. It should also be a stark warning to the outside world that has been content to stand by while the fighting continues.
The current problem of Iraq will not be resolved by sending more U.S. troops, drones, or jets to Iraq. A U.S. military presence would only bring back the same problems associated with the invasion and occupation of the country. The United States can do something, however.
Shukri Sheikh Ali thought this year would be different. It was to be a time of rebuilding, of recovering, of returning home. Instead, she is starting over once again from scratch, her land thirsty for rain and her village emptied by conflict.
What if those of us searching for solutions made peace with the fact that we just do not -- and, perhaps, may not -- fully understand all of the contours of some of the seemingly intractable problems facing the Syrian refugee population?
The bombings alone didn't force Anout and her family to flee their home in a small Syrian town near the border with Iraq. Nor did the missile attacks. Nor the scarcity of food, the closing of all the schools, the loss of electricity. Anout's family -- two boys and three girls -- endured all of it.
The video opens up on smiling laughing children. It's your normal "Happy" video -- joining videos from America, Germany, Egypt and Australia, to name a few -- but there's a slight twist to it: The people in the video are Syrian.