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In the face of harrowing events on the Mediterranean, it’s hard to imagine what we can do as individuals to help. But by challenging apathy, speaking out and getting active, we can all play our part in effecting change.
This extremely harrowing picture – reported all over the world today – was taken yesterday on a beach in Turkey. A boat carrying migrants – including this Syrian three year old – capsized trying to reach the island of Kos in Greece, killing many on board, including this little boy, his brother and mother.
It is a story that has moved and upset many of us today, including myself.
I have a child around the same age as this boy. I know legs like these. I know what it feels like to wrestle shoes onto feet like those, feet that would be wriggling and trying to get away from you before you’d finished. I know what his little face would have felt like to his mother, as her hug turned into a tickle, an arching back and squeals of laughter. I know what his little body must have felt like in the arms of this Turkish police man – a dead weight like the sleeping child I have carried many times. I know the love this little boy’s mother and father undoubtedly felt for their son. And I know that this picture is their nightmare beyond nightmares – the greatest horror any parent could imagine.
As Allison Morris says in her tweet: “That’s not a migrant – that’s someone’s wee baby boy”.
The desperation that leads migrants to risk their lives must be so great. Kenyan-born Somali poet and writer Warshan Shire expresses it clearly:
…you have to understand, that no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land …and no one would leave home unless home chased you to the shore.
Unfortunately this poor child’s story is far from unique. Over 300,000 people have risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean this year, many of whom are Syrians attempting to escape the civil war that has turned their country upside down.
According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 2,600 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean this year, trying to reach Greece or Italy.In the face of this suffering is there anything we can do, as individuals, to help?
Many issues seem so large and complex that it is hard to imagine how one person could make any sort of meaningful impact. But just as there are a lot of big problems or issues in the world, there are also people who care about these problems and issues.
Individuals and groups take action each day worldwide – in their day-to-day lives, making choices, making changes, small and large – stacking up small actions that can amount to big change. In the face of the suffering you see, lift your voice in support of what you believe in – and in support of change.
We are working to provide emergency hygiene kits to displaced Syrians and we need your support.