Aylan. Whose Father Weeps Alone At Night


That particular day, I did not want to write anything about Aylan Kurdi.
Certainly not anything public, that is.
Certainly, the grief felt by so many across the world was also felt by me. It cut to the bone.
But sure enough, many others would cry out, for many different reasons, some sincere, some with a hidden agenda, some with an objective of their own in mind, some torn apart lashing out against everyone.
How could anyone ever take a picture like that?
Why did someone have to take a picture like that?

On September 4 – 2015, a boy’s image, that of the drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi of not even three years old, became the symbol of the still on-going migrant crisis in and around the Mediterranean Sea.
The photos, which galvanised the world showed his body lying on a Turkish beach. He was wearing a red shirt and black shoes, his face partly covered by sand and gentle waves, as if he were sleeping.
The child’s mother and brother of four also drowned when their boat capsized. Only the father survived.
Aylan Kurdi’s journey should have taken him to safety in Sweden, but instead ended with a funeral in Kobani, the city his family tried to flee.

Who was to blame?
A young boy died and all that many people could think of was to place the blame for his death somewhere, anywhere.
Those who came under fire ardently tried to shift that blame, preferably to their opponents.
No one stepped forward and claimed the blame unequivocally, without trying to hide behind excuses or sharing the burden with another party.

Was Europe to blame for being selfish? Was the US to blame for having supported dictators in the region for far too long, while creating monsters like Al Qaeda and IS, believing in all their vanity and selfrighteousness that they had the power to set history’s course together with a moral obligation to do so?
Was Turkey guilty of gross negligence or collusion with the enemy? Hadn’t they stayed aside in the ongoing battle against IS for far too long, while their more recent commitment was nothing more than a cover-up for the battle against the Kurds within their own borders?

Was Iran responsible? Or was it Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait?
Shouldn’t Syria’s president, Assad have bowed his head as the main guilty actor, for having brought ruin to his country and the world?
Or should we have simply shifted all of the blame to Al Qaeda, who set the tone? To IS for raising the barbarity and atrocity of supposedly religious warfare to an unprecedented level?
Some even went so far as to blame Islam itself.

Aylan’s image stopped us in our tracks. But why was the wound to our heart inflicted by this image so much worse now, compared to all the other misery, horror and deaths we had witnessed in the days and weeks before? Was it because we felt ever so strongly that a child’s innocence should not have fallen victim to war’s brutalities?
Did being a mother or a father make a difference, especially when at the same time you were having a toddler running around the house yourself?

The image of Aylan was and still is shocking indeed and seems to be burned on our retina forever.
But even more shocking is the realisation that the outrage over the boy’s photo was so short-lived. The media soon shifted their attention to other news items and gradually, more quickly than was decent or even human, the world started forgetting Aylan.

And his father wept alone that night.

And every night ever after.


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