Saturday 10 December 2016

We can't turn our faces away from victims of war

30th September is Red T-shirt Day. Sarah Carey is taking part because bearing witness is the least we can do.

Published 13/09/2015 | 02:30

Aylan Kurdi
Aylan Kurdi

When awful pictures of war and famine and death appear on the news, I have to turn off the telly straight away. I can't cope with it. My husband says I'm wrong. He says even if it's upsetting, the least you can do is bear witness. I plead that my precious feelings won't relieve the pain and misery of a victim one iota. In fact, wallowing in sympathy for victims, whilst doing nothing constructive to relieve their suffering, is self-indulgent. But he usually has the remote control and I end up leaving the room.

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But he is working away at the moment and I have the remote control. So when the pictures of Aylan Kurdi being carried out of the sea were shown on the news, I could turn it off. My youngest son is three and that poor, limp little body looked too much like him. But my 11-year old son who was watching the news with me complained.

Why did I turn it off? I told him it was too sad. But he's cut out of his father and he insisted. When we turned back on the telly, Aylan was gone but the refugees behind barbed wire in Hungary were there instead. "It looks like a concentration camp," he said. "Why are they doing that?"

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