He’s in a red shirt and blue shorts, his little body still chubby with the best kind of toddler fat. He has his shoes on, their brown soles pointed toward the camera. This strikes me as odd — because he’s at the edge of the water on a beach. The waves care not that he is there, they come and go at nature’s will.
The light goes on in the back of my brain, and I slowly shake my head, willing the reality of the image away. I suddenly get it. This little boy, who looks to be barely three, is dead. He died and his body is there on the beach. There are no parents to rescue him. They too are dead.
The story comes out in bits and pieces: Twelve refugees, thought to be Syrian, drown when their boat sinks off the coast of a Greek Island. Their bodies wash ashore in a Turkish resort town. That’s when this toddler is found. Too late.
Turkish media identified the toddler – he has a name. His name is Aylan Kurdi, from a Kurdish region of Syria. It is thought that his five year old brother died on the boat as well.
Of the 11 million that have died or fled their homes from Syria, some stories stand out. Just as Christina became the iconic story of the tragedy of Qaraqosh, so will this baby boy become the image and story of the refugee crisis.
The Associated Press gives us a pictorial look into the crisis as they show a 24-hour migration across Europe.
What can we do? How can we urge governments and policy makers to act? How can we sit back, while a little child lays, dead on the beach?
We are a world asleep, a world that is short sighted, a world that honestly believes someone else will fill in the gap.
Will a dead toddler wake a sleeping world?
What if we just showed up? What if, when we see people who are desperate, we put aside all our reservations and took the risk of giving, caring, loving?
In truth, my faith demands that I respond! Throughout the Holy Scriptures, I read commands to care, to help, to offer refuge.
The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveler*
Truth is – I have no answers except one. And that is prayer that the warm fire of the Holy Spirit will wake us, sustain us, and give us grace and desire to act.
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*Job 31 v 32 KJV
9 thoughts on “Will a Dead Toddler Wake a Sleeping World?”
The world may not have changed but Canada acted. That horrific photo led to 25,000 Syrian refugees being admitted to our country in a few short months.
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You are so right! I love what Canada has done. And I just found out that despite the negative reactions of pockets of people the US settled 12,000 as of August. So thanks for this – it’s a good reminder to me that people and governments continue to respond.
Marilyn, here is a meaningful poem: http://sufipoetryenglish.blogspot.com/2015/09/with-his-shoes-still-on.html
We must all enter into FERVENT prayer….. an army of PRAYER warriors…. this is truly a very sad event which is happening….we can go around blaming them and them; however; we must just PRAY…..
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
I am angry at the world for doing nothing with Syria. I though am even more angry with the parents of these boys. The family had not started their voyage from Syria to their intended destination of Kos but from Bodhrum in Turkey. They had decided that a life in an EU country was better than a life in the nearest safe country. Although western Turkey is far from perfect it is far from the work of ISIS and the family should have felt safe there.
Whatever their reason In order to get to Kos they risked everything and Abdullah the Father appears to have lost everything. What annoys me is the fact that hundreds of thousands of people are being peddled a fantasy that Europe is the place to go at all costs and this dream is leading to needless deaths when some are in safe countries. We need to find a way to register and police the refugee and migrant situation better so we can give those fleeing evil an orderly and dignified way to wait and be given a safe country for them and their families to move to and not the scenes of chaos we have witnessed over the summer. There is also a need to process those who wish to enter a country because they determine it is the best country for their lives I’m not sure if a UN area around hotspot where extra passport control and camps could be set up outside the port area to develop skills and allow some of the people to settle into a normal life, which could give them a chance to reflect and maybe start to make rational choices once they are finally feeling safe and away from the trauma of the hard life on the road whatever the circumstances that have led them to be there.
They were not trying to go to europe, they were headed to canada, where their father’s sister has lived for 20 years she had tried everything legally possible to get them legally to Canada.
They cant stay in Turkey, Turkey cant deal with the ampunt of refugees alone. something like 96% of the refugees stay in countries that border their own country. The US and the UK have helped create the crisis, so we must take resonsibility.
Jo Hoyle, that makes it hurt even more – they had someplace to go, someone who would welcome them, and they just wanted to GET there……