Sunday 4 December 2016

A tiny stranger on the shore speaks to the whole world

Published 03/09/2015 | 02:30

A Turkish gendarmerie carries a young migrant named Aylan, who tragically drowned in a failed attempt to sail to the Greek island of Kos, in the coastal town of Bodrum
A Turkish gendarmerie carries a young migrant named Aylan, who tragically drowned in a failed attempt to sail to the Greek island of Kos, in the coastal town of Bodrum

His name was Aylan, the little Syrian boy who, lifeless, lay on a Turkish shore. Tiny and helpless in his new state of eternal stillness. And yet he speaks to the whole world. He speaks of failure and abandonment, of a willingness to pay lip service to compassion but of a reluctance to show it. About two thousand others have perished as the sparkling Mediterranean becomes a graveyard.

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This small bundle of hopelessness, brought to us only by the graces of the tide, is part of the human flotsam and jetsam on which the governments of Europe - including our own - have by and large, turned their backs.

Aylan can't logically be called a migrant because migrants leave their homes to voluntarily seek work overseas. He's too small, too innocent to have volunteered for anything.

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