It’s not often I get all political but that picture of Aylan Kurdi really got to me. He was so little, so perfect. He looks like my lads in so many ways, it hit me hard. I was bothered before, but kinda thought things were improving for the refugees and that big charities had it under control.
It seems though he’s not died in vain, obviously I wish he and his brother Galip were still alive, as I wish all the other refugees were. But this little boy changed the world, I had of course seen lots of other nasty pictures and video clips on the news, but nothing hits a parent in the chest like seeing a dead baby. I immediately recognise things about him, but those tiny little shoes, they got me most. Shoes – it sounds so dumb, but my boys had tiny shoes like that: dirty soles but hardly worn as he’s the hugger age. I bet he spent all his time being carried by his Mum or Dad. He was dressed in a loving way, that tiny little soul shouldn’t know war. His parents should never have had to make such a choice as getting on a cramped little boat and crossing their fingers that they’d be safer on the other side.
I won’t post the pictures, but if by some chance you don’t know who little Aylan was you can see those photos here. Once seen, good luck thinking of anything else.
Today the Father buried his 2 sons and his wife. Ironically the bodies were flown back to Syria for burial, I’ve no idea who funded these flights but I so wish their original journey had been by plane. Why struggle and risk life crossing seas in toy boats and deserts on foot? Why is most of the world allowing this to continue?
I’m not claiming to have the solution, but how come you can fly back towards a war, but not flee legally by air? I think if war ever happened here in the UK again I’d want to flee. I would risk my life for my children’s future without a doubt, but to risk their life, that’s not a snap decision. Why are governments of the world not doing more, working together could have saved so many lives. That said I am so glad the David Cameron has now said the Britain would help resettle some Syrian refugees, directly from the Middle East, cutting out the deadly journey. I think the petition did this, because of Aylan’s death, but what a price to pay before anything good happened.
So as it’s deeply upset me, I’ve got off my arse, and I’m helping. I’ve joined several refugee support groups and am not only discussing things, but am doing things. On Monday I am going wombling on a festival site, the organiser calls it “salvaging” but either way i’m there, I’ll be packing away abandoned tents, sleeping bags, camping mats – anything useful for the Calais Jungle.
Soon I intend to clear my wardrobes, unclutter my home and sell it at a car boot. People are saying donate clothing to refugees, but I can’t get to the Greek islands where most of the desperate souls are arriving. Those in Calais are now being swamped in food and clothing donations from what I’ve read in the refugee helper groups some donations are even being turned away. I want to help Aylan and Galip, but as I can’t I will help those who are trying to reach Kos and nearby islands. All of them take their lives in their hands, they have nothing when they arrive, nothing but what they are wearing and have crammed in their pockets. I’m not loaded, but I have a roof over my head, no war, I have too many clothes and food in the cupboards. I am just being human and wanting to share with those who have nothing. So I’ll give anything I earn to Kos Kindness or similar groups “on the ground” out there.
Together lets do this. Doing something is normally better than doing nothing. Flog a handbag on eBay perhaps, with 100% donation to one of the charities helping, maybe Save the Children, MSF or British Red Cross. More ideas for ways to help are helpfully on the Guardian website.
What if it was your family?