Aylan, my boy…
It was as if the entire world collapsed on me. Was it possible at all to look at that photograph of a little boy’s body washed up on a Bodrum beach without pain in the heart? Moments later, a young soldier was gently carrying in his arms the lifeless body of a little boy. He was three-year-old Aylan Kurdi. The lifeless bodies of his five-year-old brother Galip and mother Rehan were also washed up on the Bodrum beach. If, after seeing these shocking pictures, you have not yet cursed with the ugliest of the words you know all those who contributed to this tragedy, including those top Turkish executives who helped avoid a resolution of the Syria problem and contributed turning it into a civil war, congratulations, you have a stone heart.
Rehan was dead, like her two small kids. She was relieved of pain, leaving the entire grief to her surviving husband, Abdullah. The short video footage aired by almost all Turkish and most major foreign channels documented the immense human dimension of the tragedy that, despite Turkey flooded with refugees, most Turks pretend as if they never heard about.
Rehan was lucky, perhaps; she did not survive like her husband to live the pain of lost sons. Zeynep was not that lucky. It was her share of the tragedy to live the loss of her two sons, 11-year-old Zainb Ahmet-Hadi and nine-year-old Hayder. How unbearable the loss of two small kids was visible in the video footage of the grief-stricken mother’s face.
Some foreign journalists have described pictures of Aylan’s limp body in the sand and of it being carried by a local gendarme as epitomizing the crisis engulfing Europe as a tide of humanity flees the horrors in the Middle East. Indeed so.
Escaping for a secure and decent life were all the parents of tens of thousands of Aylans wanted for their sons and daughters. The civil war continuing at home escalated to a new dimension with the inclusion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) terrorist gang in the picture, which was already a quagmire. Will there be a resolution anytime soon? Even if a magical wand provides an end to the fighting today, it would take decades for Syria to rebuild and recover to some degree the immense losses of the war.
Those that planned and staged that “Arab Spring” play in this geography must be rather proud of the great success they have achieved from Tunisia to Syria, throughout this geography. Aylans are suffering in Tunis, Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Syria… Palestinian Ayans were victims the whole time anyhow.
Who would care why each of those over 200 refugees – that included the family of Aylan – paid 2,050 euros to human traffickers to ship them to the Greek island of Kos onboard a flotilla of dinghies? Who would care if tens of those refugees could not make it 13 miles away to Kos from Bodrum and perished in the sea?
The story of Aylan has changed that. European peoples seeing those very sad images perhaps will step up pressure on their governments to undertake some action to help bring peace in Syria. Comforting refugees is, of course, an imminent problem but cannot be the answer to the calamity continuing in front of our eyes. Anyhow, whatever might be done would not be enough to comfort refugees. What would anyone want other than a decent, honorable and comfortable life in his/her homeland?
The Syria quagmire cannot be resolved by carpet bombing, devastating whatever is left of the country’s army nor providing arms and weaponry to terrorists on the one hand and talking of noble goals on the other. New security arrangements according to the needs of some other states or their local ally cannot be achieved at the expense of Aylans. Anyhow, did not the Aylans pay sufficiently enough with their lives during the past, many years of civil war?
“No resolution with Assad” and such obsessions brought Syria’s Aylans to this unfortunate point. Flip-floping politics, designing to rip off political benefits from the tragedy next door or turning a blind eye as long as refugees didn’t flood European capitals cannot be acceptable any more.
Aylan, my boy, forgive us, forgive the world…