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It’s been more than two weeks since #HumanityWashedAshore with little Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless form found on a beach in Turkey. No sooner had those demons settled in my mind, when a couple of days back there was news of a little four year old girl, as yet unidentified, who also washed ashore, also on a beach, also in Turkey, also trying to escape the crisis in Syria, and also drowned when the boat she was in capsized.
My heart had frozen when I first saw the picture of Aylan Kurdi, dressed so perfectly in his little shorts, socks and red T-shirt. As a mum of twin boys, there are so many instances when I’ve dressed my kids in similar outfits. Like all parents, I imagined my boys washed ashore on that beach and I was terrorized.
The little boy was just trying to escape the atrocities of his nation, trying to make a better life for himself, trying to get towards a brighter future. And look what the world gave him. An untimely death, which sparked a million headlines all over the world and gave zillions of parents all over the world like me, the chills.
The boat that promised him a future also brutally cut it off. The life that wanted to be saved was tragically severed short. The future that was to be bright was plunged in darkness. What a way to send him off World!
I have so many pictures of my boys sleeping peacefully on their beds in the exact same position. The difference is that they get up each morning, with the promise of a better, safe life ahead. Little Aylan did not get up, even though he was promised a better life ahead.
It’s morbid to draw parallels between the living and the dead, and for a long time I did not want to think about it. But last evening, as I watched my boys sleep peacefully, I read Peter Bouckaert’s account of why he felt this image had to be shared with the world, bawled my eyes out, and wrote this post.
The little boy and countless others like him were wronged by the world at every chance they got. What were his parents thinking in the morning when they dressed him to board the ill fated boat? Was he sitting quietly in one corner, contemplating the day ahead? Was he getting in everyone’s way, like my kids usually do in the morning? What were his mothers’ thoughts when she lovingly put those shoes on him, did she have an inkling that this was the last time he would ever wear shoes?
The little boy was like my little boys. He, who dreamed of a future where he was free, where he could go to school, study, make friends, eat ice cream, grow up, meet his partner, have children, grandchildren, etc. The world deprived him of all those dreams.
His picture made it to the front pages of all the newspapers and he was splashed all over every form of media. There are countless others like him. Infinite others, who will jar the souls out of our bodies.
We can only hope and pray that struggling as we are; we find our humanity and not remain nonchalant about our “freedom” anymore.
Rest in Peace, Aylan Kurdi and all the brave souls who died while looking for a better life- you were strong in life and may you continue to be strong in the afterlife and inspire others to be strong as well.