You may have seen the image floating around social media as of late. The harrowing and disturbing image of a three year old boy, laying face down on a Turkish Beach, lifeless and bloated after having drowned along with his Mother and Brother whilst their boat capsized, headed for Kos, Greece.
His name is Aylan Kurdi, i use present tense language because in my view a child never dies, he’s an Angel in my eyes. His parents left the War torn Syrian town of Kobane to flee for a better life. A risk that obviously had to be worth dying for. When we see the situation of the Syrian war we come to realize safety for many people is no longer a viable scenario- anything is safe but their homes.
Aylan, despite passing away, has become the still living, still breathing “face” of the current refugee crisis facing Europe at the moment. Many thousands are attempting to enter Southern or Eastern Europe so they can make a passage to nations that have welcomed them with open arms, like Germany. Many of these refugees are women and children and the constant barrage of blockages is sending them in a desperate array of madness. It is understandable, these people have traveled in treacherous seas with their lives packed in a couple of bags, carrying children on their shoulders. They must be restless from a lack of sleep and deprived of standard hygienic rights.
For these Syrian refugees the constant blockages they are facing by countries they are simply trying to pass through is a true test of patience. Sitting in the pouring rain with a lack of proper food and shelter whilst being blocked by barbed wire and intimidating police cannot be a sight they were expecting to find in such democratic and liberal lands. Some refugees cracked under the pressure and questioned authorities, tried to skip lines and attempted to force themselves into trains and borders. Sure enough, from our perspective it might seem like a bad idea to engage in such behaviour yet we must understand these people are on survival mode, they have been ever since they left their once glorious nation, which now lies in partial rubble. Constantly under threat by “Allied” warplanes or Barbaric terror groups.
As is the case in every situation that involves war, it is always the innocent that pay the price. Let me get political for a moment because this information is important. The Syrian situation isn’t only a Syrian issue. It isn’t only a Middle Eastern Issue. The Syrian conflict has had many different hands in play to the current dilemma. Hands that come mainly from The United States, Europe and the Middle East. The Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is about to make a decision on whether he will join the United States request to begin military strikes in Syria, so we will soon enough find out if Australian hands will join this list of War meddling.
The fact of the matter is that Syria has had a relatively stable history in the Middle East. Prior to the civil conflict that soon turned into an International one we find that Syria had a huge influx of tourists, culture and relative safety. Yet now it is a place that mirrors its once great neighbour Iraq. What we find is that one by one, many formerly great Middle Eastern Nations are toppling and crumbling due to predictable dictators, foreign invasions and civil unrest. It’s a recipe for disaster and just as it happened before, it is all happening again.
So why is the current Syrian refugee Crisis everybody’s responsibility? It is a Humanitarian Issue. These people need our help and it is as simple as that. The Earth is a vast place. Borders and barriers are an excuse for us to be exclusive and to shut off and shun people in our attempts to “preserve” our culture. Yet isn’t our culture in humanity more important than our materialistic culture? Is it not our duty to wear the boots of perspective and try to understand it from the angle of the people fleeing? They didn’t start the war! They want out.!
Believe it or not some people are trying to dismantle the refugee status of these people, claiming that their protests and demands to get to “richer” European countries prove they are “Economic Immigrants”. This is a crude statement that fails to look at the reality. The reason all of these immigrants want to flee to “Rich” Germany and not “Rich” Iceland is the fact that Germany has ALREADY announced it is willing and ready to take in 800,000 refugees, without harsh camps, without months of waiting to only be rejected. They are aiming for stability, not money.
This explains why they are not fleeing to the Rich nation of Iceland – Who have offered to only take in 50! Refugees.
This blasts the conspiracy theorists who are trying to undermine the struggle of these people. They are unhappy with being “blocked” by these other countries who are stopping them from going to a destination that will give them that safety and security every human being should have the chance of having.
Yet there is a huge pressure on Europe at the moment as they were not expecting this huge influx of refugees in such a short time span and no, this is not exclusively Europe’s responsibility. Yes, i am looking at you rich countries of the Gulf. Whilst the Modest Middle Eastern Nations like Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon have welcomed Syrian refugees in huge proportions we find that the most well off countries in the Middle East like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE have all turned a blind eye on their fellow brothers and sisters. They have no formal resolution or proposition to help these refugees. What a shameful and shocking display of ignorance and a callous display of indifference to the suffering of their fellow humankind, who happen to share the same creed as them.
This is why i am being slightly more lenient with the current situation and Europes handling of it. We must understand- refugees must and should be welcomed, worldwide- yet it must be controlled immigration. These people need to be identified, they must be catered for and counted. There cannot simply be a “Free for all” system where people aimlessly run around settling to a place foreign to them. I believe every country should take responsibility for these refugees, yet get their act together and have a plan to support them and help them recover from their living hell they fled. This all needs to be controlled and documented migration, it is truly the only civilized way to do this.
We must look at this situation from all angles. Europe should help the refugees just like the Gulf states in the Middle East should. We all should have a plan for these people and a moral compass. Help them help themselves and find their feet again. These are Human beings, families like you and i. How can we deny them safety and asylum?
It disgusts me that even given the clear sadness of this situation with Aylan Kurdis’ photo being shown world wide we still have Neo Nazi scum burning down refugee shelters in Germany, we still have flag waving xenophobic bigots yelling “Fuck off, we’re full” and indeed we still have ignorant Morons vilifying these people calling them “Welfare cheats” before they even step foot on their lands. This is where we see the sickness in humanities heart and how we cannot see past race, religion or borders and look at the basic core of the issue. They are humans, so start treating them like they are!!
Peace, Salam, Ramey.