The photo of Aylan Kurdi, who died while trying to flee his war-struck country of Syria, was all over the social media. A boy of three, face down, on the beaches of Turkey. Lifeless.
Yes, we all know the photo. We all sympathise with the father, who lost both his children and his wife. We all want our policy makers to answer our questions. We all want justice. We all want to do something, anything, so that these atrocities stop.
That is until the next celebrity break up.
You see, our world kills people every single day and we don’t stop to care even for a fraction of a second. Thousands of people are killed – unborn babies are killed in their wombs, toddlers are murdered, school going kids shot, teenagers thrown into war as soldiers, adults forced into giving up everything and fleeing or dying in bombing and elderly just waiting for their body to shut down. We are more than okay with killing human beings incessantly, without any discrimination, other than on the basis of their citizenship not being of a North American or European country.
For example. The oh-so-great United States of America had this brilliant strategy of tackling terrorism – they launched missiles towards people they suspected to be terrorists from a camera hundreds of feet from the ground. Turns out it was just a 10 year old playing tag with his elder brother? Oops. But to be fair, it wasn’t USA’s fault. The kids shouldn’t have been born in Pakistan, how very stupid of them.
And please, United States isn’t the only mean bully out there. There’s EU, there’s North Korea, there’s countries torn with civil unrest (like Syria itself) and there’s rebel groups around Africa (remember this man called Boko Haram in Nigeria who has been killing people for years now? No? But I bet we remember Miley Cyrus’s and Nicki Minaj’s VMA feud)
We, as a world, don’t give a damn.
And that’s that. Countries are going to care about their people, and even that’s being overly optimistic. Mostly, our world leaders are going to focus on maintaining their status quo and making sure they win the next elections and get enough fundings for that. To please the voters, they might send some troops in or promise helping out other people in need by giving them a few billion dollars in exchange for ridiculous terms and conditions. That is until something else doesn’t distract us.
I don’t even blame them. That’s how they’ve been working and most of us are very conscious about this. We all post photos with heart breaking hashtags and join in a movement but most of us don’t keep track and don’t continue to exert pressure over the years, something that is essential for real, permanent change.
I don’t say give up your job and stop going to college to march towards your parliament and then hold up protest banners and burn cars to prove a point. No. But communicate. Talk to people and talk to the representatives of your local government. Use social media and use your rights and power as a citizen and get yourself heard. Yes, there are thousands of issues and maybe we cannot solve all of them. Yes, maybe some require prioritisation. But don’t give up on a cause that truly touches you, do everything in your power to fix the wrongs in this world.
Or we will continue to see Aylan Kurdis every single day.