Suffer, the Little Children
Posted on September 3, 2015
Trigger Warning: This is a piece about the drowned children washing up on beaches in Europe.
I saw the first one yesterday, a glistening little boy, water washing over his bare torso on the shoreline of a beach somewhere. His t shirt was pushed up under his arm pits, and his shorts were pushed down low on his hips. I thought that it was a photo shoot, a marketing ploy by Unicef or another humanitarian agency. I thought that he was beautiful, that little boy. I thought that it was a pretty shocking way to bring attention to what was going on in the world, but I thought, maybe it’s what is needed, at this moment in time and history.
This morning, the image of another, tiny boy lying face down on another beach, in Turkey this time, disabused me of my innocence, and even as I saw the link on my facebook timeline with the screenshot thoughtfully removed, below it facebook showed in it’s ‘related articles’, the bodies of the small boy that I saw yesterday, and five or six others. Yes, they were beautiful, all of them.
I have never seen anything so heartbreaking.
I saw my father and brother drown. It was not peaceful. They didn’t wash up on beaches. I never saw their bodies. After their bodies were retrieved from the deep of the murky brown waters in which they sank, the funeral director said that we couldn’t possibly view them. I left the room crying.
Who are we, people of today, in this world, who choose to close our hearts? I know that there are people in Australia who close their hearts with slogans about “stopping the boats”, but we all know that that is simply political rhetoric, that, as Julian Burnside says, simply means that they will die another way, by fire or blade or torture. I have already read some peoples reactions today, who, upon viewing the photos of which I speak, instead of asking “What can we do?” defend the inactions of Australia and other nations with hearts of stone. If the awful sight of these beautiful, dead children doesn’t move you to change, then I ask you, what will?