23 August 2019 09:37 PM

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SHUBHDA CHAUDHARY | 2 SEPTEMBER, 2016

One Year After Alan Kurdi's Death: What Has Changed?


NEW DELHI: The haunting image of 3-year-old Syrian Alan Kurdi, who drowned in Mediterranean Sea on September 2, 2015 literally shook the entire world. The image of his dead body, taken by Turkish journalist Nilüfer Demir captured the front pages of international media, silently speaking about the refugee crisis that had taken an obnoxious turn. One year later, Mohammad Mohammad, a Syrian taxi driver who got refugee in Northern Greece still holds the photograph, with tears in his eyes, because nothing has been done to stop such merciless deaths, the international world stands silent, watching the mayhem unfold, one chapter after another. Mohammad says that Alan died at the sea, but there are still hundreds of Syrian children, metaphorically dying every day in Europe. This human disaster, suddenly becoming a foot note in the history of time, is being deliberately ignored, as if its existence does not matter.


Abdullah Kurdi, Alan’s father, at that point had said, ‘let this be the last.’ Sadly, Abudllah too has disappeared in the façade of humanitarian welfare, as if his entire life, his sacrifice, his existence never manifested in reality. Quite sadly, though Europe is creating hullabaloo on the refugee crisis, nothing has been one to actually address the main issue. In October 2015, more than 70 children suffered the same fate as Kurdi, when they were trying to escape the crossing between Turkey and Greece. It is devastating to witness how the small bodies of these children are washed up by the so-called idyllic beaches, creating a human tragedy that is vulnerable and heart wrenching.In the past one year, 65.3 million people have been displaced, including the refugees and asylum seekers.


Out of these, around 21.3 million people were literally forced to leave their respective country. The identity of a refugee, the alienation that it incurs and the ignominy that it causes, cannot be penned down. The catastrophe is so huge that its shocking to known that 51% of the refugee population constitutes of children below the age of 18. Out of the 1, 015,078 refugees that arrived in Europe in 2015, 25% of them are children. More than 5,700 people have died since 2015 on the migrant routes, but sadly, it hardly makes any international news anymore.On an average, 2 children die every day in the process of reaching Europe. Estimates reveal that by September 2016, almost 730 children would have died. In the aftermath of Kurdi’s death, the European countries adopted a conciliatory tone. The leaders promised to share the responsibility of the refugees who were landing in Greece and Italy. They created a system in which 1,20,000 refugees reaching Italy and Greece could be transferred to other European countries. But none of the leaders thought futuristically about what happens next. It reflects the lack of thinking on the part of the leaders, or perhaps a subtle indifference because after all, it’s not their domestic problem.


Countries like Sweden and Austria have become apparently strict with their migration policies, which is further worsening the situation.Well, it’s time we accept that the grave international outrage that Kurdi’s death caused, does not matter anymore. As leaders, diplomats, or even as humans, the sensitivity of death does not bother anymore, be it of a child or an elderly refugee. These are definitely testing times and quite unfortunately, we have been defeated with our own indifference.

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