Musings – The Boy on the Beach

The boy on the beach – it could be a title for a short story or a book on the best sellers list.

The boy on the beach – it could be the title of a song.

The boy on the beach – it could be the title of a movie.

The boy on the beach is none of those things because as of 2 and 3 September 2015, the image of the boy on the beach has been burned into the minds, hearts and consciences of every person of good will on this planet.

The boy on the beach is Aylan Kurdi aged 3. He is…. no … he WAS a toddler from Syria, labeled a migrant and or a refugee who died in the cold waters of the Mediterranean sea, and was washed up like a piece of driftwood onto a beach where he should have been playing and building sandcastles. He’s not and he was not a migrant or a refugee – he was and he is every mother’s son. He was just a little boy who was trying to escape hell. He died with his mother and his brother…… How must that mother have felt when she realised she was letting go of her sons’ hands for the last time….. How must she have felt knowing, thinking her last thoughts about her beautiful sons….. Did she die thinking she failed them? Did she die in despair? Was she crying salty tears into an already salty sea?

I can never un-see that picture. I will also remember forever the image of the policeman gently cradling Aylan in his arms as he lifted him up – his face turned away as though what he finds himself doing is too horrific to comprehend.

TURKEY Migrant_2

The time for hand-wringing and setting up meetings weeks into the future has passed…. We all need to act now to save this family we all belong to – it doesn’t matter what languages we speak, or what we have in common…. we are all part of the same human family…..

There’s lots we can do……..Type in the hashtag #refugeecrisis or google the acres of newspaper coverage about the boy on the beach and you will find links to aid agencies you can donate to who are working on the ground in the places these families are running away from. Give what you can. Call, text, phone, email your local government representatives and demand they act now…….. We don’t want any more children lying dead on the beaches of Europe…..Remember they want the same things we want – they want a place to call home where they can play safely and grow up with their parents and their brothers and sisters…..

This is a poem which was shared with me today on Facebook. It’s called HOME and it is by Somali poet Warsan Shire. Read it and hopefully it will make you realise why these fellow human beings are risking everything and why we must stand up and prevent another crisis like what happened in WWII.

“HOME,” by Somali poet Warsan Shire:

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbours running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

go home blacks
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
be hunger
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here.


So now answer me one question: Can we here in Ireland afford to take more than 600 migrants/refugees……can we afford to save more than 600 of our fellow human beings?


2 thoughts on “Musings – The Boy on the Beach

  1. Brilliantly written Laura, that’s a heartbreaking poem but so true. We can afford to take many many more than 600. The decision should not be “affording” it should be about humanity. I will never forget that image as long as I live.


    1. Thanks Lynda. It’s a haunting image. We will be looking at it in 40/50 years time as an example of what it took to wake the world up….. I hope we all wake up ……:( Brenda


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