Comment: We hope this helps achieve Hussein’s aim

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There is no escaping the fact that our story today about Hussein Almasharqah is troubling.

Anything that puts the health of a young person at risk is going to cause deep concern.

Hussein would say that we should be more concerned about what is happening in Syria – and to an extent he would have a point.

As we go about our busy lives, we are all guilty, to a greater or lesser extent, of not doing all we can to help those in distress in other parts of the world.

Another young person putting themselves in danger, though, is no solution.

There are plenty of people who will decry what Hussein is doing. Some will question what he could possibly hope to achieve from his home in West Lothian, others why his parents have not stopped him or even whether this newspaper should be reporting his protest at all.

We believe that this is an important story and that bringing it to public attention can also help to draw it to a conclusion.

What is beyond doubt is that Hussein is an intelligent, sensitive and determined young man. We should all admire the courage and passion that has driven him to take such an extraordinary stand.

The world would be a much poorer place without people like him with the will and belief to change the world.

And those who doubt Hussein are certainly wrong in one sense. He has already achieved a great deal by bringing the crisis in Syria back into the forefront of our minds again.

Tens of thousands of people will read in this newspaper and on our website today about his protest and the terrible plight of the Syrians that so moved him. We hope that by printing his story we have helped him to achieve his aim of raising awareness of Syrian crisis.

We earnestly hope that he will then realise that he has achieved what he can and return to his normal life knowing that he has made his point.

Massive thanks

Thank you to all our readers who so generously supported our Christmas appeal for Edinburgh Women’s Aid.

With 30 new incidents of domestic abuse reported in Lothian and Borders every day, the charity’s vital work is needed today as much as ever as it enters its fifth decade.

Your generosity means that more victims and their children can look forward to a brighter new year.