Friday, September 4, 2015

The Boy

The photo of the dead Syrian boy who washed up onto a beach in Turkey.
I can't stop looking at it. Like I see an article and even though I already know the story, saw the photo, I click on it, click past the warning of a graphic image, and I see it again and again and again.
There is nothing I can say that others haven't said better. Something about his shoes. His body heavy with the sleep of a 3 year old boy. Every parent knows that repose. Except of course we don't because this boy is dead. 
I go in at night to look at my own children sleeping. I am in disbelief that the world has given me this love, this luck, this burden of knowing how hair trigger close I am to losing it all, the difference only in where I was born.
Something still different but also the same: I read somewhere that Sandy Hook marked an end to the war on gun control in the US once America decided killing children was bearable, and yes. I am still friends with The Brady Campaign on Facebook, but I am also friends with Chipotle and Kate Spade.
What do I do, what do I do, what do I do? I donate to the Refugee Crisis. I read more articles. I click on the link thinking that making myself look at the photo honors the boy, humanizes him, maybe wondering if at a certain point it will no longer shock me, the photo of a little boy so much like my own, face down dead in the sand. 
Thousands of people pushing to get on a train that doesn't move. Other than that, inclusive of that, I don't know.


Anonymous said...

I'm always wondering about these things, like, why couldn't I have been on that boat for some reason? Why couldn't I have sacrificed my life to save the boy or something? Why couldn't it have been me?! I haven't been alive for very long, and I have already done many things that I regret, but that little boy hasn't done a damn thing. Anyway, enough with my guilty comment rant, that was a truly beautiful, poignant post, Susannah. (I guess an emotiji isn't really appropriate )

Anonymous said...

My friends in Europe have started a campaign similar to the ALS bucket challenge. They ask 3 people on their facebook list to get one of those blue IKEA plastic bags and fill it up with things needed by the refugees and drive the bag directly to the refugee centers. It's caught on so well and in the meantime more and more people donate their time, money and goods to help out. Of course, all of this doesn't help 3 year old Aylan anymore, but his picture haunts all of us and we're more eager to help now than ever

Mr. X said...

I had only seen the headlines about little Aylan Kurdi. But, until your post, I hadn't looked for it. What a heartbreaking image. Of course, that doesn't even begin to explain the true horror and sadness.

Over a decade ago, I stopped reading "news" papers, watching their broadcasts, and listening to them on the radio. Initially, this was limited to the U.S. Eventually, I ditched it all. I found a lot of it slanted and all of it depressing. I felt better...and, immediately.

Lately, I've found myself surfing Google News again. Sadly, nothing has changed: Shootings, bombings, diseases, war, political upheaval, financial crises, celebrity idiocy, and all the other stuff. Not surprisingly, I found myself being (even more) pessimistic and anxious.

Part of me wants to do "something." But, what does one do? I mean, what does one REALLY do? Do I open Facebook/Twitter accounts and post/tweet to everyone about all the tragedies? Will that accomplish anything TRULY meaningful? (rhetorical question)

Another part of me wonders if the madness the world population suffers will need to continue--perhaps even escalate further--before there is finally some breakthrough. Similar to an alcoholic "hitting bottom," before they finally surrender to something greater than themselves.

I suppose I don't have anything wise to offer, Susannah. I'm sorry. However, here are two things I know for sure:

1. I'm sorry for your torment.
2. While no longer housed in a body, dear Aylan's spirit is intact and free.

May Aylan rest in peace.

May we honor him by learning to love each other and live in harmony. Although a pessimist, I can still hope.


Mr. X

Petunia Face said...

Anon at 3:23--love the IKEA bag idea. I have to believe that it all helps in small ways to impact something larger.

I also found and signed an online petition asking the U.S. Govt to open our borders to refugees. Again, not sure it will help, but it was something.

And Mr. X, your comment reminded me of probably the most powerful way I can help, and that is by teaching my own children to love fiercely and give freely. Perhaps that is simple and Whitney Houston-esque, but it is what I can do to change the future.

Xo you all!

Mr. X said...

Again, your inner beauty matches your outer. Your comment, in kind, reminded me of Gandhi:

"If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. ... We need not wait to see what others do."

You're right that every action counts. I tend to have an "all-or-none" mindset and that's unfortunate. It's limiting.

No act of love is too small. Thank you for the reminder.

Mr. X

Anonymous said...

I watch a lot of an insane amount. And almost every time I watch one, there is a new cause for me to champion. But I don't. Like Mr. X stated above, for me, it seems to be an all or nothing kinda thang. I hate people killing I bitch about it on facebook. I am a fierce Feminist, but refuse to "Free the Nipple" out of my own lame self loathing. And so it goes...gun control, animal testing, medical care, insurance companies, Black Lives Matter, Right to Die, death penalty, abortion, ALS....the list goes on and on and on, and it's all so overwhelming. I force myself to watch uncomfortable things (animal cruelty videos, insanely grotesque Isis murders, pictures of dead 3 year old refugees) because, like you, I feel like I'm honoring a memory of someone, and if that animal or human had to endure an intense amount of suffering, than shouldn't I have to endure just a little too? It's a mind fucking reality that I wish we could mind fuck right back. **shoulder shrug, sigh, shoulder shrug** xoxo -B