In The News / Lifestyle

Washed Up Boy: Why We Should Keep Showing Photos of Aylan


While in no way is anyone trying to keep the Syrian Civil War a secret, in the United States, it’s quite easy to pretend like it isn’t happening. I wake up every morning, I take a shower. I find clean clothes in the room I share in my dorm with my roommate, I put on deodorant. I comb my hair into place, I pour some coffee into a travel mug. Maybe it is a Monday. Maybe I know it’s going to be chilly, so I wear a sweatshirt. Soon enough, I am on my way to a class that in the end, really doesn’t mean anything to anyone, not even me. I, like many other Americans, get to pretend like whatever is going on, outside of my immediate view doesn’t even matter. And to me, I am correct. We are ignoring the luxury we have. The majority of American citizens live in relatively safe locations where they do not have to fight daily for their lives. Every now and again, we hear of the horror stories of women being beaten to death by their husbands and children being cut down by their parents. However, our horror story is the day to day life of many Syrians trying to escape, and many who are failing, civil war in their homelands.

Aylan Kurdi is just a boy washed up on a shore. It could have been anyone who washed up on a shore. Why does the media keep showing this? Why do we care about continuing the circulation of some three year old boy? I care because in the truest sense of everything, Aylan has embodied why everyone outside of Syria should care about the civil war tearing apart the country and destroying thousands of families. Aylan symbolizes innocence.

Aylan was a three year old boy who died in a pair of shorts that look a lot like the ones little boys I used to babysit wear. I walk by aisles in stores and see the same kinds of shoes he had on his small feet. He was too young to do anything sinful, although he could have been naughty, like any little boy. He was far too young to do anything that ended up costing him his life. Much like Aylan, the people of Syria may not have always been model citizens. In the end, I can’t say I know anyone who has never done anything wrong no matter where they live. However, I cannot say that I know a single person who I believe deserves to have their life and country destroyed and possibly their life taken from them. I know no one who deserves to have everything snatched from them in what really amounts to the blink of an eye.

Circulating Aylan Kurdi’s picture allows all Americans to begin thinking about what is going on in Syria. It allows each and every one of us to think about how we might be able to help. It gives us an opportunity to recognize the fortunate conditions in which we are and to help others get to a place where they can begin to experience even a fraction of what we have every day.

It is sad that it takes the loss of such a young life to make some of the world’s most fortunate people come to understand our privilege as well as the importance of helping others. But we must continue to circulate Aylan Kurdi’s photo in order to make so many people care.

Photo Credit 1


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