The photo made him look just like a child who had accidentally tripped on a mound of wet sand and fallen, the photographer obviously capturing that awkward moment with a mind to keeping the image for the obligatory 21st birthday party slide show, a little joke at the expense of the boy whose clumsiness would have evolved from babyish steps to a graceful young man by that time.
But the monstrous truth of the image of Aylan Kurdi, a three year old Kurdish boy drowned while his family were trying to escape a war and washed up on a Turkish beach three days ago was, momentarily impossible. How could we allow this to happen? All of us. Our entire species. What shame to be a human.
These photos have flown around the world in a wave of social media angst. The photos of this little boy’s death have travelled far more widely and easily than he ever would have been able to, had he remained alive and had they survived, his family would have been dogged with the term ‘Refugee’ or worse yet, been called a ‘fraud’ by such illustrious publications as “The Muslim Issue“.
And while Brendan O’Neill, a blogger for UK newspaper The Spectator has most righteously proclaimed, that the photos are to the “weeping Twitterati” merely a periapt of “moral porn for the right-on” he profoundly misses the point. His snarling at hipsters who have become emotional about the photos is as much an offence as the right wing misinformation disseminated by the klutzy writers of “The Muslim Issue”.
We live in a connected world. It is astonishing. There are few places left on this planet that are not observed through the plethora of image capture by some device or other or the boundless and all encompassing internet. The distance between us is shrinking. We can clearly see the lives of the rich and famous and how lucky they seem to be and we can view the public and infamous circumstances that have surrounded the death of a little boy and his family seeking refuge… all in a five minute surf on the net.
And what we all understand now, more than any other time in history, that at some level anyone of us could be Aylan Kurdi and his family. Even the Kardashians.
So how has this come about? How is it that we have somehow failed as human beings to be able to ensure safe passage for a three year old boy anywhere in this world? That not this group/tribe/colour/religion/sexuality or that group/tribe/colour/religion/sexuality could change the outcome of what happened? How is that possible?
It is simple. We must stop resenting one another. The rich should give. And the poor should accept. We are a single species that has a multitude of variants. But more than ever we are on the brink of completely devolving into a sociopathetic society. Destroying children. Destroying the earth. Destroying hope.
We should, nay, must, start demonstrating kindness and compassion, tolerance and acceptance. And greet people who seek refuge with open arms and open hearts.