It’s been virtually impossible today to avoid seeing the lifeless body of a little boy washed up on the shore of a Turkish beach. The images are everywhere on the internet, and soon they will be splashed all over the front page of newspapers in Europe and UK. But you won’t see them here on Starts at 60.
Why? Because they are simply too much to bear.
At the feet of the man in the picture above lies a toddler, face-down in the sand. Should you see the whole picture, it is an image that will stay with you for life.
Three-year-old Aylan Kurdi is one of at least 12 Syrians who drowned while trying to reach Greece. His body – along with 12 others, five of them children – washed up on a beach in popular tourist destination Bodrum after the boats they were travelling in sank.
A Turkish news agency released the images and they are trending around the world under the hashtag #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik, which has been translated into #humanitywashedashore.
The story is absolutely devastating, and the theory is that sharing these images will change the world’s attitude to the refugee crisis taking place in Europe, as thousands risk their lives escaping certain death in Syria and the Middle East.
Do we need to see these images? Is this the 2015 equivalent of Kim Phuc running away from a Napalm attack in Vietnam, which, in it’s own way, helped bring that war to an end?
We’re not saying the photos of the little boy should never be seen, but the pernicious nature of the media means you can’t not see them. Open many websites and he’s there, lying on the beach, being carried by a guard, or wrapped in a body bag.
Just as the autoplay function on many new sites meant you saw news anchor Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward being shot live on air whether you wanted to or not, the pictures are writ large all over social media and traditional media.
And in the Northern hemisphere, the pictures will be all over the newspapers.
The BBC has chosen to publish only one photograph of Aylan, in which he is being carried by a Turkish police officer and is unidentifiable. However, several news organisations have published more graphic images of the boy.
UK newspaper The Independent said it had decided to use the images on its website because “among the often glib words about the ‘ongoing migrant crisis’, it is all too easy to forget the reality of the desperate situation facing many refugees”.
Meanwhile, The Sun is running Aylan’s image alongside a baby born in a Hungarian train station yesterday where refugees have been blocked from travelling to EU countries for three days.
Have you seen the images of the little boy washed up on the beach? Tell us, do you think it’s important the world sees these pictures or are there other ways to deal with the refugee crisis?