Alan Kurdi from Syria made headlines after he drowned in September 2015 in the Mediterranean Sea. His family wanted to escape Syria war and took a risky journey on a boat to Europe.
It was on 2nd September 2015 when the pitiful picture of a 3-year-old boy in a red t-shirt lying face down on a Turkish beach shocked the world. Soon, his picture made the headlines and people started to search for his family. Photographs of his body shared by Turkish journalist Nilüfer Demir raised many questions.
After research, it was reported that his name was Aylan Kurdi or Alan Kurdi, he was from Syria and only three years old when he drowned in the Mediterranean Sea. This photograph no doubt emotionally touched everyone and acted as a catalyst amongst several world leaders and the public.
Alan, along with his mother and five-year-old brother Galip, drowned after the boat carrying them to Europe overturned into the water. His family wanted to escape the war in Syria, so undertook a risky journey that has caused the death of many migrants.
Alan’s death shocked millions, and he became a symbol of Syria’s crisis. You will be shocked after knowing that in 2017, over 121,517 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea. Out of these, 2410 people died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea. The route is still called as the deadliest migration route.
After his picture went viral on the internet, countries like Austria and Germany opened their borders for migrants. Donations for Syrian refugees kept on increasing after the photo went viral.
Let us know more about Alan Kurdi and his family.
Alan Kurdi was born in 2012 in Kobani, Syria. A journalist reported that his family name was Shenu but, Kurdi was used in Turkey because of their ethnic background. To escape the Syria war, they moved to different cities and settled in Turkey.
His family returned to Kobani in 2015 but returned to Turkey in June 2015 when ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) attacked Kobani again. Alan Kurdi’s family was hoping to join their relatives in British Columbia, Canada after his aunt filed for refugee sponsorship.
Unfortunately, the application was rejected by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada after they were denied an exit visa by Turkish authorities. Later, the Kurdi family entered into Canada under a private sponsorship program where groups of 5 people may sponsor a family or an individual.
On 2nd September 2015, the family boarded on a rubber inflatable boat which overturned five minutes after leaving Bodrum in Turkey. The family was trying to reach the island of Kos which was nearly 30 minutes from Bodrum.
Alan Kurdi’s father said –
“We had no life vests."
Other people believed that they were wearing life jackets but, they were defective. Later, it was reported that the family paid $5860 for their four spaces on the boat, but the boat had 16 passengers on it. His mother also joined the group even she was scared of the open sea.
Around 5-6 AM, authorities started enquiring after an emergency call for the boat was received. The dead bodies of Alan Kurdi and another child were found by the locals. Later, Alan Kurdi was photographed by a Turkish journalist Nilüfer Demir.
The next day after the incident, Alan along with his brother Galib and mother were taken to Kobani for the last ceremony. (12.1)
As expected, the photograph of this toddler caused a dramatic upturn in the world. Francois Hollande (French president) called Turkish President and several European leaders after his Alanres went viral on the internet. He said this picture should be a reminder of the world’s responsibility from refugees. Irish PM Enda Kenny described the crisis as a human catastrophe and the picture as absolutely shocking.
Alan Kurdi picture helped in donations, with one charity named the Migrant Offshore Aid Station receiving a huge amount in 24 hours. MOAS is an international humanitarian organization which provides emergency medical relief to the migrants and refugees from around the world.
A journal on 10th September described the images were “highlighting the horrific human cost of the global migrant crisis.”
Two days after his death, Germany agreed to admit hundreds of refugees who had been stranded in Hungary. This move motivated the political leaders from around the world to create a humanitarian corridor, while Canada promised to resettle over 25,000 Syrians. It was after Alan’s death that most leaders particularly European leaders accepted to share the responsibility of refugees landing on Italian shores.
Peter Sutherland, the UN’s special representative for international migration, said–
“The principle is so important and reflects such a change of thinking that in itself this is a very significant development.”
The Twitterati shared the heart-melting pictures of a toddler and the effect of the Syrian war on the children.
How the Syrian war is affecting children is doing the rounds on the internet. The latest was the picture of Omran Daqneesh who survived the bomb in Aleppo. The picture describes the image of Alan Kurdi and Omran Daqneesh and highlighting other Syrian children who know nothing but unknowingly are the part of the war.
And this image of the 3-year-old boy is still raising several questions in everyone’s head.
Indian sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik also paid tribute to refugee toddler Alan Kurdi.
The pictures of the boy on the beach, Alan Kurdi shocked the world and threw the light on European migration crisis. Nearly 30 people in Rabat, Morocco, dressed in a red t-shirt and denim shorts lay down on the beach and recreated the scene and paid tribute to the toddler.
Organizer Latifa Ahrar said –
“As an artist, my duty is to react and to come here with my colleagues to say that a small gesture can be worth a lot.”
The Syrian boy Alan Kurdi was excited and happy about finding a new home in Europe, but a few hours later, he sat on the boat his body was found on a beach in Bodrum.
Alan Kurdi’s father Abdullah Kurdi feels it was right that his son’s picture published worldwide. The picture shows what is happening actually in the world. But in the end, this horrifying picture of a toddler did not change much. The war in Syria should be finally stopped.
He said –
“Everyone claimed they wanted to do something because of the photo that touched them so much. But what is happening now? People are still dying and nobody is doing anything about it.”
“Now I’m probably safer than I’ve ever been in my life.”
You may be wondering how he is safe. The Kurdi family originally hails from Syrian Kurdish canton of Kaboni where the residents were forced to flee across the border into Turkey. Since last year, thousands of refugees who attempted to enter Europe by crossing the Aegean Sea to Greece either drowned of rough weather or traveled in unsafe boats used by smugglers.
He only hoped that the death of his son would encourage Arab states to help the refugees.
Three years after Alan Kurdi’s death, there are some changes made for refugees on European shores. But many aid workers in Moria claim that it is the worst camp ever. It is reported that children as young as ten years old are committing suicide inside the camp.
In Paris, the organizations working with refugees claim that over 100 children are sleeping rough in the French capital. In Calais, tear gas and pepper spray are used against children who are sleeping around the city. Even many of children have gone missing from care shelters.
The UK, on the other hand, has only accepted 350 unattended children from the jungle, even though the figures are high as 3500.
No doubt, Alan Kurdi’s death shocked the world. It was expected that this incident would save other lives; unfortunately, the statistics show another story. It was reported that the total number of migrants and refugees who died while trying to reach another country has increased by more than a fifth in the last year. The majority of deaths reported are on the Mediterranean.
In many refugee-hosting countries, children are forced into jobs to earn for their survival.
Sonia Khush, Syria’s director of Save the Children, said –
“Seven years of conflict sees a lot of families being pushed around, moving from one area to another, most children are forced in to child marriages and young boys are now joining the army.”
Education and mental well-being are still a great concern in Syria.
She further added-
“Some children grow up without education. This is a great concern for us, as we question what could it mean for the future of the next Syrian generation? A lot of families are displaced within Syria or are constantly moving. This means their children cannot get access to an education or even go to school. Also most of the schools within Syria have been either bombed or used by armed groups."
Today, children who wanted to go to school are taught only the basics of Islam and how to fight. If they want to play any game, there is none. It seems they haven’t lived their childhood, they haven’t seen parks or toys, but sit alone at home terrified of war.
There is no doubt that the pictures of Alan Kurdi raised several questions in everyone’s mind. He became a symbol of all the children who unknowingly became the part of the war and lost their lives trying to reach safely to Europe. Seeing the pictures of a Syrian boy may help us to understand how the Syrians are living.
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