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Lost Lessons from a Toddler’s Death

Lost Lessons from a Toddler’s Death


Around 3:30 a.m. on Sept. 2, toddler Aylan Kurdi, his brother, mother and nine others drowned trying to reach a Greek island from Bodrum, Turkey. Around 6 a.m., the staff photographer from Dogan News Agency came upon Aylan’s body on the beach and took the famous photograph of the little boy lying face down on a beach.

In a few hours it was published online and “went viral” on Turkish then English language social media. Washington Post Beirut chief Liz Sly posted the photo with comment that Aylan’s death is “emblematic of world’s failure in Syria.” Minutes later, Nadim Houry of Human Rights Watch (HRW) posted the photo with comment that it’s an “indictment of collective failure.”

Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

Media worldwide began featuring video and stories showing refugees traveling by land in Europe. The crisis that burst into view on Sept. 2 has been building for years. But can the raised consciousness address the root cause of the crisis?

The media and numerous organizations have shone a bright light on the refugee crisis. North European countries with low birth rates and aging populations are accepting more refugees. Germany will reportedly accept 800,000 over the next year. Many other countries including the U.S. are promising to accept more refugees from Syria. This is welcome news. However it’s not a solution because:

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