Thursday, September 03, 2015

How We Failed a Child. How We Are Losing Humanity.

I felt compelled to write something about this tragic event. For me, this is the tipping point, and I hope it's the tipping point for many, for the world. We've all grown up with war, we see it on the news, in some far away country, somebody elses problem and we get on with our lives, as we have to, we have jobs to go to, rent and bills must be paid, Facebook must be updated and those reality TV shows don't watch themselves. But sometimes we have to stop, and look. As much as we don't want to, we have to look.

This image stopped me in my tracks yesterday morning and shock me to the core. I was having an OK morning, sitting at my desk to start my day, drinking coffee and scrolling through Facebook before I got stuck in. Down the news feed, silly cat videos, memes of one kind or another, people having a rant, lots of pictures of first day at school and then this. A small boy in a red shirt, navy shorts and little brown velcro strap shoes. Lying so peacefully and still, like little toddlers do when they sleep. But he wasn't on any soft bed. He was face down in the sand, the surf washing over his face, unmoving, lifeless, drowned.

I've seen dead bodies before. I've seen images of terrible things and indeed dead children before. While they have caused me sadness, none have shock me like this one. And I think it's because he looks like me own little boy. I have a two and half year old. A little chap so full of life, and fun , and smiles, and laughter and with so much in front of him. Everyday when I come home from work he is so excited to see me, he runs to me shouting "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!" and throws his little arms around me. I pick him up and hug him and kiss him. I'm sure it was the same for this little boy and his Daddy.

Aylan's Father leaving the hospital after identifying his sons body
And like his Daddy, I want nothing but the best for my son, both my kids, which is why I left Ireland and came to America. I had that choice. I was able to choose to leave one Free country and enter another Free country to live a Free life. These countries are not without their problems of course, and life can be difficult, but there are two key words - Freedom and Life. I can live here, I can thrive here, I can go about my business and earn a living and have fun and provide a decent life for my boy, unhindered. I don't have war at my door, forcing me to get into a small boat in desperation to flee, unknowing what is waiting for me.

I can't help but admire the composure and respect this officer shows.
And it seems, there is nothing waiting. Europe has close it's gates to these people. And we are standing and watching them die because they don't have a passport, or a document saying they have the right to enter, a fucking piece of paper with a rubber stamp on it. This little boy died, drowned, cold, wet, terrified in the dark screaming for his Daddy while his lungs filled with water, because of a piece of paper.

I would ask the question, but I already know the answer, the answer is Never, the question? When will governments see us as human beings, as equal, as one? If you saw someone being attacked outside you house, and you knew being opening to the door and letting them in you could save their life, would you? Our governments are chosing not to. They are choosing to keep the door closed, and instead watch as many they could have saved, die. And not only that, but they are treating them like less than human, hearding them, fencing them, beating them, treating them like the criminals. Because they are trying to flee war torn countries, because they are trying to save themselves and their children, and the people they are running to are saying "No, we don't want to save you, we don't want you here." And leaving them with only one choice, to die.

The world is at war, and you are either on one side or the other - You're doing the killing, or you're doing the saving. Right now Europe, the world, governments, you're doing the killing too. There is no hope.

Aylan with his father and older brother
(who also died) ready for a big adventure.
Look at this little boy, his name is Aylan. The morning of his death his woke up like any other morning. He got dressed, strapped on hi shoes, put on his favorite red t-shirt, the one with the spaceship on it, ran around excited because his Daddy told him "We're going on a boat today" and he thought this was going to be the best day ever! And then he died. Drowning, in agony and terror, just wanting his Daddy to help him and take him home, so he could play. He's father didn't fail him, we did, those of us you live in the free world and look on doing nothing. Shame on all of us.

Goodnight little man, rest well, I'm sorry we failed you.

Addition: My boy, at the beach, how it should be for all kids. Not what's above.