Images of Aylan Kurdi

Devichand, M. (2015, September 3). Has one picture shifted our view of refugees? BBC News. Retrieved from

This article is about Aylan Kurdi, the three year old Syrian boy whose lifeless body washed up on a Turkish shore and the impact his death had on the way people view refugees. The image of this little boy being carried by a Turkish policeman was shared via a Turkish news agency and then of course made its way onto social media. People on social media then had their own debates. Those started at whether or not the image(s) of Aylan’s lifeless body should be the ones shared (versus images of when he was alive) to the moral issues concerning the Arab states’ lack of responsibility towards Arab refugees and changes to asylum systems in the west.

I chose this source and topic because I felt it lent a much deeper view of what these refugees go through and risk. I think it is important when thinking about problems like this refugee crisis to keep in mind even the most harrowing details. A lot of people focus on much more general topics such as what to call the people involved in this crisis but I do not think focusing on what to call them is nearly as important as remembering that these are human beings that are in danger. The article “Fedussa’s Story: Surviving the Mediterranean migrant crossing” is good at illustrating the horrific things a lot of these refugees would have to deal with on their venture. The article opens with Fedussa explaining “You get scared when you first board. You have already accepted you are dead.” Immediately I can imagine Aylan’s mother and father thinking perhaps the very same things as they boarded a boat with their two small children not fully knowing that three of them would not survive. It is amazing how the exclusion (at least temporary) of refugees from safer and more hospitable places can put so many people in immediate danger. Of course there are many details that need to be figured out before anybody can be allowed into a country that is not their own because complications do happen when masses of people decide to go to the same place. I am not saying that people should simply be allowed into these European countries but I do think there should be more help for them. This crisis has been going on for a very long time and the fact that things aren’t looking much better and that there are still so many people in danger is heartbreaking.

I had learned about Aylan Kurdi at the end of September when I had read an article on the Hungarian camera woman who had been caught kicking at and tripping refugees as they ran from police officers. It was one of those butterfly effect sort of findings. The article I had previously found on Aylan had very graphic images and it struck a much deeper cord with me. I wanted to show this really sad side of the migration. The article was posted the day after he died and here we are almost two months after that and I feel that the attention towards not only this death but all of them has not received enough attention worldwide. Sure there was a quick spark from many people but two months later we should still be thinking about Aylan and other refugees and the dangers they encounter.

8 thoughts on “Images of Aylan Kurdi

  1. anthonys90 says:

    I also learned of the “boy that had washed ashore” through the Today show, it is something me and my girlfriend watch every morning as we get ready for work. This news did strike to people as shocking because like most people we are sometimes unaware or under informed of the world outside of the US. What I thought was most shocking was hearing and reading about the Hungarian news reporter tripping the Syrian refugees. Not only does it sound bad but, there is also video evidence of this encounter. I almost wrote my blog post about this incident because I felt like it was great representation of how some people treat these refugees. The questions this story and Aylan’s story leave with me are: Why would some people try to hurt those who are just trying to escape worse conditions?, Why isn’t there more being done to stop the Syrian Civil War?, Why isn’t there more being done about the bad living conditions in other countries?. In the end the fact is that sometimes we are too busy as a country/nation to focus on other countries problems, we all know at one point or another that this shouldn’t be happening but, there is no easy way to stop it all from happening.


  2. eng102dulcemartinez says:

    That’s true.There is no easy way to stop bad things from happening but I think we cant just ignore them. And maybe we cant exactly help because obviously its expensive helping all these countries but to ignore things and not do anything at all I think is awful. And to make matters worse(like Hungary) is disgusting. I heard that the main political party in Hungary is actually against the refugees being in their country not because they would cost them money or anything like that but because they actually think Syrians are inferior. Who knows how true that is though.


  3. anthonys90 says:

    Wow well no surprise there either, most countries don’t like american’s they think we are inferior to them. In the end it is all opinions but, some take it to far like actually trying to cause more harm to innocent people. All of these issues are bad but, it is definitely hard to get everyone on the same page. When it comes to war, government, and people; things will always go one way or another some people will like a decision while others will hate it.


  4. jml1123 says:

    wow how sad a little boy that washed up too shore i hadn’t heard of this story until now. the journey of crossing the Mediterranean sea from the Middle East to Europe is extremely dangerous so i agree deciding what to call them should be the last thing on anyone’s mind. Even with this story that recently came out it is still going to be difficult to get Europe’s countries government to provide or asylum to these people. A lot of people form European countries can be very cruel to them like you mentioned the Hungarian woman that kick the father carrying a child that is unacceptable and glad she was fired.


  5. blawrencet says:

    I had actually come across this story on social media and it was a sad thing to read about. It especially hit close to home for me as I have a little girl at home as well. I couldn’t imagine being in a situation where our lives were in such danger and not being able to take care of my daughter. I do agree that stories like these do not receive the amount of attention that they need. If something as sad as this were to happen in the US I feel that it wouldn’t be brushed to the side as quickly. I can understand the use of his lifeless body to capture the attention because sadly more people pay attention to death and tragedy more than life and happiness.


  6. dmhiesen says:

    Its amazing the power of an image move a nation to action or stir emotion. As Americans, so many of us are desensitized to graphic images, but there will occasionally come the one image that will strike the human heart and represent so much more. These images can definitely make a difference in how society will react to social injustice. Avenues of social media can be mediums to spread awareness of exclusion. By seeing with our own eyes the pictures of these problems, we are less likely to ignore and allow them to continue.


  7. ollysalder says:

    It truly is tragic, what these people have to suffer just trying to survive fighting for their lives, and to save their families. There is no more horrific image to a parent than that of a dead child. As I have heard so many times, no parent should have to burry their child. these people are only thinking of how I can get away from the danger and get to a better place to start a life again with my family. As in this article, they take what ever means they can, with little to no thoughts of the danger (whether the boat is sea worthy or how many people it is able to carry safely) its a case of get me on and get me away from here. And unfortunately these events more than often end in tragedy for one reason or another.


  8. AJ says:

    I feel so sad reading this article. This poor kid died from doing nothing bad. I agreed with what you stated in your discussion that, “ you think it is important when thinking about problems like this refugee crisis to keep in mind even the most harrowing details”. These people don’t even care about these innocent people. These poor innocent people had to suffer because of what others did. Reading this article about this poor kid got me in tears. It’s so sad seeing this poor kid on shore. I saw this picture on Facebook and a lot of people are talking about it. The Fedussa Story that you mentioned in your discussion is really scary. I can’t even imagine myself being in that situation. I hope that these people who are fighting for their lives will find peace somewhere safe. These innocent people need a lot of help. Great job on the discussion.


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