Every week last summer news of refugees streaming into Europe dominated global headlines. Yet it wasn’t until September 2, one year ago, that the world reacted in horror to the image of Alan Kurdi — the 3-year-old Syrian toddler who drowned trying to escape a war that was older than he was — dead on a beach in Turkey.
Like the photo of the naked girl burning from napalm during the Vietnam War or images of starving children in Ethiopia in 1984, would Alan’s photo prompt action by world leaders to end the suffering that has caused millions of people to risk their lives in search of safety?
Sadly, the answer so far is no. And the world must do better.
Since Alan died, more than 4,000 mothers, fathers, sons and daughters have died trying to make a similar journey across the Mediterranean, according to the International Organization for Migration.The situation is so dire that Save the Children, an organization for children in need, is launching a search and rescue boat to prevent children from drowning as they try to get to Italy from Africa.
Globally, during the same period, the International Organization for Migration estimates that more than 6,000 migrants died attempting to find a better life.