I had wanted to write a different entry about our joyful life across the pond. I did some reading on London history to include in it, but yet, I couldn’t get around the sombre boulder in my head. That image of the little boy is burned in my mind and I can’t shake it away. Those little feet in their shoes, those little hands beside his body. That little red shirt. His full head of brown hair. By now you know I’m referring to the images of the little Aylan lying face down on the shore. His death is so tragic on so many levels, it’s almost incomprehensible to think that on this same planet and under the same sun, one father is paralysed emotionally as he reluctantly welcomes his son’s washed up remains in his arms one last time while another parent, like me for instance, welcomes my kids with hugs and kisses as they awake from their warm, cozy beds to plan what cultural things we will see in the city for the day. Same sun, same planet, but worlds apart. Aylan was simply a child who will never know more in life than just fear and instability. We get one chance in life and this was his and now, just over 1100 days later, it’s done. How cruelly, bitterly, and painfully unfair. Aylan is a representative of many many other children and adults living in such despair. He has now involuntarily become the crushing and devastating image for the world, sending a message like a bottle swept onshore. Is this the latest event that will hopefully thrust the rest of the world into action to do something to help yet another group of people displaced by conflict and on the consequential run from events that they did not cause and cannot control? You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. Life is a constant roll of dice and in Aylan’s case and that of his brother, it’s heartbreaking that their dice perpetually resulted in snake eyes.
I sobbed while watching his grieving aunt in Canada recount how on a recent phone conversation her nephew asked her to buy him a bicycle one day. Such a simple pleasure, a right of passage for all children and yet, it’s a treat he won’t ever know. As a parent I can’t help but personify and switch those hands and feet of Aylan’s for the little hands and feet that I know so well. My kids. What if that was my kids and my life? It’s so unfathomably treacherous to try to think of my kids being faced with such challenges and imaging the fear and sadness in their eyes and I am so far beyond fortunate that I can force myself to turn a corner in my head and snap into my reality, my life, my little version of heaven on earth. My nephews are also 5 and weeks away from being 3. As a parent and well, as any person with a fraction of a heart, it’s so easy to personify and extrapolate such a dire story to your own personal relations. I can’t comprehend how Aylan’s father can even take his next breath knowing his wife and both boys not only died in such perilous ways, but his youngest son, that little body that just the other day would have hugged him and told him he loved him, was now washed up on a beach for the world to see and grieve. Given their circumstances and the manner in which things happened, does the father even have a tangible memory of his wife and kids? Does he even have a simple single photograph to cherish them with, a favourite toy or other item to clutch forever, or did whatever items they have get dispersed into the waves along with his heart? I can’t help but imagine Aylan and his brother on the boat. It must have been so loud in the dark, so frightening. Those boys must have been so scared and crying, yearning for parental comfort as the situation just started to get turbulent on the water. And the fear his parents must have felt, trying to protect and save their kids, but also themselves. Aylan’s mom was 35. I’m 35. It’s too much to think about and yet, it was real. Imagine all the people living in peace.
I don’t normally write anything political on here and choose to keep the theme on my blog light. I save my thoughts and political opinions for debates with Lumberg, who is always far more ‘in the know’ of things going on in the world because he is a political and news junkie. I shelve my thoughts and worries and what gets me down for myself and for my journal and here I normally write about the ease of living abroad in a new land with my family. I say ease because it is easy. Our struggles have so far been benign, even the more tough ones, and usually end up with us laughing through our ‘obstacles’ simply because we are lucky. Like all of you, I am aware and know the dreadful amount of suffering that happens in all pockets of the world, in all nations, and in all cities. Most things I can’t even possibly try to comprehend from my sheltered bubble on the shelf, but I get the general jist of knowledge that our collective world is a scary place, a sad place, a struggling place for many millions of people. I know there is poverty and illness and famine and despair the world over. I know that unfortunately children suffer for many reasons, be it abroad, here in London, everywhere, and one could collapse in a crumpled heap from all that sadness. Understandably, this image of this innocent beautiful boy just takes it to a different level for me and hence I had felt the need to emote.
Aylan is no different from any other child who has known pain and fear and suffering. He is no different than the child who lives in an abusive home, than the child who knows hunger, than the child who knows serious childhood illness. He is no different than the child who’s trust in a parent, guardian, or caretaker has been severed and dissolved through actions of the unspeakable kind. He is no different than the child who can’t go to school and know the personal pride and sheer happiness from stringing letters together to form words and instead must endure hours of heavy labor work in a factory or field somewhere. And he is no different than the child whose parent abandoned them in their life. What unites all of these kids is the theft of what every child should have, and that is the commitment to having a happy, safe, and loving life, however it is defined. I’m not referring to materialistic things at all, but to a child’s emotional elements. I know what I’m writing of is realistically not attainable because it is impossible to eradicate suffering of people, especially children in the world. It is not simple to fix the world’s issues and I don’t envy politicians who are in control of our global nations and who try to influence our actions. So again, you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I just hope that Aylan didn’t die in vain. So many questions run through my mind like news ticker tape at the bottom of a news broadcast. How did the world get so complex? Maybe it’s always been so tragic, but therefore, why? Why do we point fingers so much at one another? Why aren’t other nations in the Middle East stepping up to open their borders and accept these people who are in need of desperate help? How many people can a nation realistically accept? What happens to the others? How many people can Canada accept? What can be done to battle the source of the problem, which caused all these people to flee in the first place? And most importantly, how and when will this all end? I don’t know any answers to these questions and as I read through some of the commentaries people write on various news websites, their views are jaw-dropping appalling and I realize most likely, the world won’t change. By now, you’ve probably heard of the Ukip candidate here in London who tweeted ‘That little boy was well clothed and well fed. He died because his parents were greedy for the good life in Europe. Queue jumping costs.’ One doesn’t even know what to say about such a horrid, lewd, and disgusting comment. Imagine all the people, sharing all the world.
I’ve had John Lennon’s Imagine in my head all week and hence the title of this entry. I wasn’t born yet when John Lennon was most active in sharing his thoughts and messages but I do wonder what he would say about global events today. I just couldn’t get past this image of little Aylan and hence had to unload some thoughts here on my little personal digital space. I truly wonder if the world will ever ever be as one.