I am not sure I will ever forget the image of little Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body washing up on a Turkish beach. Incredibly, he died two months ago today. It still seems like last week.
Life goes on and the horrific tragedy slips to the back of our minds. It’s bound to. How on earth would we get by otherwise. The death of Aylan shook the world.
The newspapers, at least the tabloids, have returned to tabloid stories, X Factor this, Strictly that. Some bloke kisses Simon Cowell and that’s a major story. There is always more news. But just in case we had forgotten, the humanitarian catastrophe goes on, gets worse.
Yesterday, off the coast of Samos, the Greek coastguard reached a capsized six metre boat in which there were 11 drowned bodies, 10 of which were trapped in the boat’s cabin. They were mostly babies and infants. Later, the body of a young girl was found washed up on the shore of the island. It is hard to believe that we are living in the 21st century but then we are up against modern-day medieval barbarians. How can this end?
This was not an isolated tragedy. Tragedies are happening almost every day. Just last Friday, a further 22 people drowned in two separate incidents. The island of Lesbos saw 125,000 arrivals in October alone. This is not some minor skirmish, some temporary spat.
What are our leaders doing? We’re taking 20,000 people over the next five years and we’re handing over a lot of cash. I’d say that is totally inadequate, an embarrassment. The EU, whose countries have been massively affected by the refugee crisis, fiddles while Syria burns and as for the United Nations: the less said, the better. Our leaders are elected to lead, to take difficult decisions. Their dual role must be as human beings too. Above all, the refugees are people, reluctantly on the move, usually with no possessions nor money. They’ve left everything behind. Our leaders do not have a clue.
Where are the big ideas? Would it not be possible to set up and enforce safe zones in Syria? I am not talking of an Iraq-style invasion, but some way of protecting Syrians, keeping them save and precluding the need for them to move with all the potentially fatal risks that brings with it. If not a safe zone, then what? Some talk of a diplomatic and political solution. Well, all right, but are we going to negotiate with the sick murderers of ISIS? The old saying that today’s terrorist is tomorrow’s freedom fighter doesn’t apply to islamic fascists.
All I see is nothing except misery. Another dead child being taken from the Greek shoreline with the grim prospect of many more such deaths as the winter winds begin to blow. This is not going to get better; it is going to get worse.
The current policy of sticking their fingers in both ears and shouting “la la la la la” is not working for the leaders of the free world. Are there no men and women of passion, vision and substance amongst the throng of tinpot spin-led intellectual pygmies who control our world who cannot come up with something better than this? It is not good enough to say that our leaders know what to do. The whole point of them becoming leaders is because they want to lead, isn’t it? So many top politicians, especially in this country, become more like Party CEOs and managers, not true leaders at all.
I don’t believe we are suffering from compassion fatigue. I think the mass movement of displaced people has shocked us to the point where we see no way forward. Right now, the world shows it has learned nothing following the death of little Aylan Kurdi and there are few indications it’s about to learn anything in the future.