On Thursday 03/09/2015 the world woke up to pictures on the front page of most newspapers which I know I will never forget (and which I’m not sure we ever should).
I have read discussions on social media about whether we needed to see these pictures. They are horrific to see and have caused heartache across the globe. However, it is undeniable that the world seems to have stepped up and started caring since we have seen them. The Independent reports that it took the decision to publish the images of Aylan Al-Kurdi on its front page because
… it is all too easy to forget the reality of the desperate situation facing many refugees.
The original article can be found here (warning: the images are very distressing) and led to the Indy’s Petition calling on David Cameron to accept more refugees in to Britain (I urge you to join the thousands of people who have already signed up).
Today is the last Saturday I will have with my own three-year-olds (they are the same age as Aylan was when he stepped into the dingy with his parents and brother) before they start school. We have had a lazy morning watching Postman Pat and having cuddles on the sofa. Sitting there as a mass of limbs and kisses reminded me (as if I would ever forget) how lucky we really are. Lucky to have a roof over our heads, lucky to have food in our cupboards, lucky to have freedom of speech and lucky to have each other.
I can’t imagine leaving behind our home, our friends and our family (those who are left after the near-total destruction of the town) and taking my two small children on a dangerous journey to an unknown land in the hope of safety and security. Yet this is the situation facing hundreds of thousands of people. Refugees don’t need to imagine doing this, they don’t have a choice. To me, the quote which Warsan Shire, the Somali-British poet, wrote in her book Long Journeys. African Migrants on the Road has really stayed with me;
“no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land”
Please remember that there are many things we can do to help the refugees. Please search for them and see what is in your power to do. A great example is my school friend’s gorgeous son who was so touched by the pictures of Syrian children he saw on the news that he set up a Just Giving Page to purchase sleeping bags for them (and if a 5 year old can think like this, I know we all can).
As a human I know I have grieved for all the senseless loss of lives. As someone lucky enough to live in a free and safe country I know we could, and should, do more. And as a mother I know I have hugged Biscuit and Cracker that little bit harder and tighter since I saw poor Aylan lying on that beach.