On September 8, the world was shocked by scenes of Hungarian camerawoman Petra Laszlo caught on video kicking a Syrian refugee as he ran across a field to the Serbian border carrying his 7-year-old son.
Osama Abdul Mohsen lost his balance and fell to the ground. Cameras captured his expression, a face of disbelief, shock, and vulnerability, and the pictures were beamed around the globe. The young son he was carrying suffered a concussion as a result of the fall.
This cruel and callous act has become one of the enduring images of a mass exodus which has been taking place in the Middle East, as thousands of Syrians flee a war-ravaged homeland in hope of finding safety and refuge.
Amidst all the chaos and desperation, there have been few happy endings, but thanks to a Spanish Soccer Academy in Getafe, a small ray of light has emerged from this dark and harrowing crisis.
Osama Abdul Mohsen has been offered a job by Spain’s Cenafe National Soccer Coaching Center, and with it the opportunity to build a new life in safety and security, reports Time.
After learning of Osama’s coaching skills and experience having worked with Syrian Premier League football team al-Fotuwa SC, Cenafe made the bold and compassionate move to give him a teaching role at the centre.
Miguel Angel Galan, president of Cenafe, told Spanish radio station Cadenar Ser, “We got the idea to help a fellow football coach. Solidarity because we are colleagues.”
Getafe Mayor Sara Hernández, speaking to the Spanish media, vowed that Osama would also be given an opportunity to work with the city’s elite professional football club, Getafe FC.
“We will work with Getafe FC so that the father can coach there, seeing as he has experience in that area. This is a step to show the solidarity of the city of Getafe in response to this human drama.”
The Cenafe School has sent Mohamed El Laubrozzi, a Moroccan Arabic-speaking trainee, to assist Osama and his sons with the journey to Spain from Germany, where they have been staying in a hotel.
Speaking to NBC News Osama revealed that his wife Muntaha, 38, their eldest son Almuhannad, 18, and their 13-year-old daughter Doua’a, have been staying in Mersin, Turkey, where the family had fled in 2012.
Galán, the Cenafe president, is also planning to help bring Osama’s wife two remaining children to Spain and help with their applications for asylum so they can remain in the country and begin their new life.
[Image credit: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images]