Yesterday the world was introduced to a little boy named Aylan Kurdi. We have learnt a lot about Aylan in the past 24 hours. We learned that he was born in Damascus and grew up in Kobani. We learned that he and his family were fleeing their home (Kobani is currently under the control of ISIS) and were attempting to make their way to Canada where Aylan’s aunt had emigrated twenty years earlier. We also learned that sadly he, along with his mother and his brother, perished in the waters off Türkiye while attempting the dangerous crossing to Greece in a small dingy.
The outcome to this tragic story is a positive one. The world has finally opened their eyes and their hearts and acknowledged the plight of the Syrian refugees here in Türkiye and the neighbouring countries of Jordan and Lebanon. We, the people, want to see changes made and we are pointing our finger’s at the leaders of those countries with closed doors. Yes that is you Mr Tony Abbott with your “Stop The Boats” policy. And you too Mr David Cameron calling these refugees “pests”. Finally I have not forgotten Mr Barack Obama. How much blame can we put squarely on his, and his predecessors, shoulders? A lot I would wager. Do not stand idly by. Open your doors to those in desperate need of help.
To these three men (and to the leaders of all countries unwilling to help in this world crisis), I want you to do something for me – close your eyes. Just do it. Close them.
Think of your family. Tony with your daughters, you too Barack. You both have amazing girls, so beautiful, smart and strong. David I don’t know too much about your family but I bet they are tucked away somewhere. Imagine you are sitting with your wife and your children at the dinner table, or watching television, or perhaps playing in the garden with your pet dog. Without warning gunfire is heard and you yell to your family to take cover. The smell of tear gas is wafting through your open windows. In the distance you can hear the sound of mortar shells exploding and the screams of terrified people as they run to safety. Your daughters rush to their mother and begin weeping. Your wife tries to console them but she too is shaking with fear.
You receive a text message. A friend has sent you a warning. You need to leave. There are bad men coming.
You and your family are on the run now. You don’t have time to collect your belonging. You leave your home with the just the clothes on your back to keep you warm. You keep moving.
Not everybody was able to escape in time. Stories of those left behind filter through the throne of people also leaving the city. Stories of savage rapes, of massacres, much worse than you had dared to fear. You pass decapitated bodies discarded on the streets. You can still hear the bullets and the mortar shells in the distance. Keep moving Tony! For your children! Keep moving Barack! David!
You cannot go home but, for now, you and your children are safe.
What do you do gentlemen? Do you look to your neighbours to help you? Do you hope that they will give you food and a warm bed? Of course they will. We are all human. We help our neighbours in a time of need.
You stand at the door to your neighbour’s home. The door is bolted. Your wife is crying, tears streaming down her grimy face. Your daughter’s are terrified. Afraid that they will be sold into slavery or worse. You bang on your neighbour’s door.
“Please let me in.”
“Nope. Sorry. We don’t want you.”
“But I have nowhere else to go.”
Hug your daughter’s tonight gentlemen. Kiss your amazing wives. Know that they are safe with you living in a country that has so much to offer and maybe, just maybe, think of Aylan and the thousands of children just like him.
Open your doors gentlemen and let these poor souls in. They just want to be safe, for their families to be safe. Just like you.
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