This Boy's Name Is Omran. | Gradient

This boy’s name is Omran.

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His name, according to CNN, is Omran. He’s four, or maybe five. He’s covered with dust and blood — his own or someone else’s, it’s hard to say. His home has just been bombed, and he was the first to be pulled from the rubble, and he clung to his rescuer like a life raft. His mother, father, sister and brother soon followed. They all survived, thankfully. Others —thousands of others — have not been so lucky. Omran lives in Appelo which has spent years being besieged during Syria’s civil war.

These are the snippets of war that make it into our homes now. The days of live news coverage is largely over since news stations can’t bring regular coverage to a Syrian civil war that’s stretched on for years and shows no signs of resolution. Our coverage is limited to the lucky shot — the tearful image that garners headlines like “an important reminder” and “heartbreaking.”

And it is an important reminder, but a reminder of what? That war is hell? That the most helpless among us are the most likely to be affected? That millions of children all over the world spend their lives surrounded by violence they will never recover from, even if they’re fortunate enough to survive it? Worthwhile things to think about, all.

But soon the talk will turn back to how best to keep refugees like Omran and his family out, if we talk about refugees at all. For the most part, we won’t think about them. We may talk about refugees in the abstract, using code words like “borders” and “safety,” and then the talk will get heated, and we’ll debate numbers and terrorism, Clinton and Trump, policy and practicality. We’ll hear about “illegal immigrants” — a term so vast it means almost nothing anymore — and we’ll hear statistics. And the millions and millions of smudged faces will blur together into a sea of humanity that we treat like math equations.

But his name is Omran.

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Jason is the cofounder of the iconic non-profit Invisible Children which was founded to increase awareness of the horrendous activities of the LRA in Central Africa. Jason was also the director of the iconic Kony 2012 film that took the world by storm. In this two-part interview Jason and Branden talk about what it means to create a movement, what Jason experienced during his breakdown and subsequent recovery, and Jason’s experience in the world of theater.

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United gets their cheap on, fake news, and Trump hired who?

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Welcome to Episode IV. This week, Dan spends some time with his favorite singer/songwriter, Matthew Perryman Jones. Matthew and Dan talk about panic attacks, growing up in Atlanta, the way music is informed by pain and suffering and the way music gives freedom.

If you have spent any time watching television in the last decade you have most likely heard one of Mattew’s songs on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill and many others. His insightful writing and voice have drawn comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley, and he is on the short list of songwriters who skillfully weave the deeply philosophical and the vivid utterly human without ever losing sight of either.

To get his new album Cold Answer, (which features the three songs from him you heard on this episode), visit MPJmusic.com.

Subscribe on iTunes.

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Special Election Edition, President Trump to legalized weed and everything in between.

This week we reflect on the election and discuss our strategies for staying sane.

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This week we discuss Beyonce’s night at the CMAs, last minute election plans and how SNL might save us all.

Subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher.

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We appreciate everyone sticking with us through this long hiatus but are planning our return even as we speak, with a bunch of new goodies and an updated format. In the meantime, here’s a brief primer on Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange — just so you can go into the movie knowing what you’re getting yourself into.

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