One Life Too Small
Today is the 14th Anniversary of 9/11 and whether we like it or not we are still surrounded by images of innocent hurt from the pressures of terrorism or war. You would think mankind has evolved since the 2nd World War but alas there is a major refugees crisis hitting Europe because of the war in Syria. “War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children” Jimmy Carter said. Ultimately it is the women and children who suffer. Men pick up arms to protect or fight, but they all want the same thing on both sides, to be right, to have a better life, but is it worth it at this expense?
Last week the world shook when most major newspapers in the West published the photo of a young boy washed up on the beach. There were mixed reactions to the photo, it seemed that the public was disturbed but the media houses used it to influence the decision of the European Governments to accept or act on this refugee crisis. Photos are great, but just like you must drink responsibly you should use them carefully. I remember when the Westgate photo hit the front page the very next day and we were shaken especially since this incident happened right at the heart of our social lifestyle. The bigger picture that immediately ran and calmed the situation down was of the policeman rescuing the child. This image showed hope, solidarity and a chance at living a possibly normal life after the horrific bloodbath. Even though alongside Aylan Kurdi’s photo there was the photo of the policeman carrying his body, the damage was done, there was a dead boy on the beach, washed up, hopeless and alone.
There is no doubt the photo was used to stir emotions from the public to the politicians and organizations involved in the refugee crisis. But was this the only way? The war in Syria has been going since 2011 and may go on for a few more years unless some sort of intervention happens. Almost 4 years later and the full effects of the humanitarian crisis is out, they have no choice but to flee for their lives. The relevant authorities usually have as much inside information on the tragedies of families like Aylan Kurdi and he is not the only child to have died in such circumstances. So putting his photo on the front page, does it justify anything? Media is a powerful tool and if you ever had a chance to watch the Amitabh Bachan film “Rann” you would see how things can be manipulated and there is sometimes no room for sincerity.
Putting aside sales figures or TRPs, because when the photo was published everyone from radio, TV to social media was buzzing with the story. Yes it got the world attention and many people started asking how they can open up their homes to these helpless people. Also after the truck full of bodies that was found on the highway in Austria, people were watching. Thankfully they didn’t show any person’s image. There should be dignity for the dead. He had a family too, there are more refugees who have died on the way, before getting on board, what about them? Photos of the dead should not be allowed, period. It doesn’t matter if they can stir emotions, change the world, this is a fine line that shouldn’t be crossed. It is a personal matter, especially a dead body, who can’t defend itself, how can you be cruel to use it to gain attention?
Let his death not go in vain, let it count, now that it has been shared, shown and blasted all over the world. Who is responsible for this? I would say, back to the same media who published it, it will be your responsibility to make the claim that help is needed, help is getting there, and what next. You are not the presidents, ministers, warlords, but you have officially become their mouthpiece and you must deliver.