I couldn’t sleep last night. The images of the refugee crisis culminating in the lifeless body of little three-year-old Alan Kurdi washed ashore on a Bodrum beach in Turkey weighed heavy on my mind.
The image is distressing to people, but this is the reality of our world right now. Last week there were images of other children, about the same age as Alan, washed up on Mediterranean shores which I chose not to share at the time. I thought it was too upsetting to share. But enough is enough. The world needs to see what their governments are doing and what the people of the world may be contributing to.
The powerful image of little Alan is what happens when governments deny a safe passage to refugees seeking asylum.
Alan’s death and the death of so many other refugees – men, women and children – is not Europe’s fault. It’s not the Arab world’s fault. It’s not Turkey’s fault. It’s not USA’s fault. It’s not Australia’s fault. It’s not Canada’s fault. It’s the whole world’s fault.
It’s not the European migrant crisis. It’s the international refugee crisis – there is a difference. All of those countries mentioned above and beyond are responsible for these deaths.
And it’s not just the heads of these governments to blame. It’s the lay people who support their leader’s nationalist “reclaim our country” rhetoric, or the, “stop the boats,” insensitive clichés, or the millions spent to put up razor wire fences and other blockades. Supporting these
political slogans to gain power policies, doing whatever means possible to make a refugee’s journey to safety unsafe is what contributes to our crisis.
Those policies aren’t effective. They kill. They killed Alan. They killed his brother. They killed his mother. They killed 12 people on the same raft. They’ve killed for months now. Years. Because no matter what, seeking safety for your family, for your children, seeking a life where you can feed and clothe them in peace will always be a priority for a mother or a father during times of war. FOR ALL OF US.
We cannot deny refugees a safe passage believing our country will always be safe too. The shoe might be on the other foot one day. I pray not, but remember WW2 Europe, America, and even Australia? Syria was at peace just five years ago too.
We let Alan (and others) die because we stood back whilst the greed for power took over around the world. Because insipid fears were not silenced. Fears by parts of our society that believe refugees and migrants don’t contribute to society. The same insipid fears that politicians thrive on to keep them in power. The same politicians people love to hate. The same fears that makes the media rich, because fear sells these days. The same media people love to hate.
In Turkey, websites – largely Kurdish news – reporting on events near the border are blocked. In Australia, the government blocks the media reporting on refugee boats and the horrendous conditions of refugees in Nauru or Manus Island. Look to other international media and they’re hell bent on calling this the “European migrant crisis”. Spin doctors are having a field day keeping mainstream society in the dark.
Enough already. What is really happening in Syria? What’s really happening on the borders with Turkey in the last month to cause this escalation of refugees? And why do our governments have deep pockets to fund wars, yet shallow pockets to manage the fall out they create.
Our world is better than this.
RIP in little angel, may your next world be far kinder.