“Rest in peace Aylan Kurdi. May God forgive us for failing you.”
Those were the words that concluded a heartbreaking tribute published in an Australian newspaper on Friday, memorializing the 3-year-old Syrian child whose death sent ripples of shock and grief around the world this week.
On Wednesday, photos of Aylan’s body, dressed in a red T-shirt and lying limp in the damp sand of a Turkish beach, made the rounds on the Internet, sparking discussions about the enormity -- and the staggering human cost -- of Europe’s migrant crisis.
Aylan, it later emerged, had been attempting to travel from conflict-torn Syria to Canada with his Kurdish family when their smuggler’s boat capsized. The child, his 5-year-old brother Galip and their mother, Rehen, all drowned.
“I don't want anything else from this world,” their father, Abdullah, who tried to save his family, told CNN. “Everything I was dreaming of is gone. I want to bury my children and sit beside them until I die.”
In an interview with HuffPost Arabi, Abdullah described the harrowing last moments with his wife and sons.
“I wish I could transfer my breath to them, to breathe life into their bodies again,” he said. “We spent a whole hour holding on to the boat. My children were still alive. The first one died because of the raging waves. I had to leave him to save my second son, who also drowned. I turned around to find that their mother had drowned as well.”
You did not deserve to drown in the coldness of water and in the coldness of human indifference.
You were not a Migrant. You were not a Refugee. You were a 3yr old little boy wanting to play safely, away from the threats of violence and war.
In Heaven, you will be nursed by those who held you, by those who kissed you and by those who risked everything in the hope of you reaching the shores of safety.
Rest In Peace Aylan Kurdi. May God forgive us for failing you.
Using the hashtag #HumanityWashedAshore, social media has been filled with tributes for Aylan, his family and the more than 2,600 migrants and refugees who are known to have died crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe this year.
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