These images are simply too much to bear 225



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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? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. It’s tragic and Australia want to go in bombing them. These people need this war to stop

  2. I don’t want to see this… it is hard enough hearing this on radio. Horrific!

    2 REPLY
    • Good. now contact your Federal Member and tell him/her how you feel. People have the power to change things if enough of us speak out.

    • I am in NZ and this government aren’t moving the “quota” whereas a lot of us are saying … stuff it, it is a real humanitarian situation. I don’t need to see a picture reposted to tell me where my moral obligations lie.

  3. Too much to bear to see the picture of that little boy!…..what an absolutely idiotic reason to not show the reality of what is happening in the world. It’s not all sunshine and lolly pops out there!

  4. No. This was a terrible tragedy. If we don’t acknowledge it we put our heads in the sand rather than expect our government and other governments to address this issue.

  5. There are some people who think we need to see these images for the real horror to hit home – but I am not one of them. I don’t need to see a small lifeless body on a beach, or witness the last moments of a person’s life as they are gunned down in cold blood, or see horrific pictures of animal cruelty to feel the horror, and to know that there is still way too much wrong in this world. You are right, it is hard to avoid these images today, but I would be just as distressed without seeing the photos.

  6. No I don’t agree with you. These are the unfortunate people who are fleeing from their home to avoid being killed and trying to find a safe spot for themselves and their children.dont cover it up it should be the top focus for every country to help them instead of them having to take such terrible risks.Everyones eyes should be open to these terrible disasters.god bless their souls and give them peace.It is not their fault the world has gone mad.Rant over…..

    9 REPLY
    • Well said Elaine! Nor did you rant. Our discomfort justifies pretending this doesn’t happen???? Exactly why asylum seekers are treated so abominably by Australia. I repeat, well said!

    • I love it Anne: Un do gooders! A perfect riposte for that tired old “insult” we’ve all heard so many times

    • Agree . The world needs to wake up to what is happening and do something.

    • I’m really disappointed with SAS for catering to squeamish people with their heads in the sand. Will be un liking this page now

    • I’m really disappointed with SAS for catering to squeamish people with their heads in the sand. Will be un liking this page now

    • When will people wake up to the fact there are 2 types of refugees. 1 is the Islamic person looking to bring the fight to the world and the other is fleeing these murderers. If we let them all in we are just spreading the fight to our own shores.

    • Scott Bundy Condely you may find it useful to look at the government data on legitimacy of asylum claims…..dated of course back to some years ago when the processing was happening……not too many Islamic fighters. BTW do you really think that an Islamic fighter would risk his/her life on those revolting dangerous boats? Wouldn’t they just arrange fake papers and fly in? Then they could join all the overstayers like so many from the UK and other Western countries?

  7. As horrific as it is, showing the picture will humanise the situation. So many just listen to the news, feel sorry and then on to the next.

  8. It’s just too sad, we don’t need the photos. Thank you. I can’t imagine how horrible it must be to be in such an impossible situation.

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