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Last year I wrote a post about my need to, at times, avoid the news. I find the horror and sadness too much to bear. So I keep myself aware, but often avoid the detail.
One sentence in that post particularly resonates with me today.
I first saw this video, from Save the Children, months ago.
Ending with the words ‘Just because it isn’t happening here, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening’, it has been shared many times across social media this week.
Because, it is happening.
More than 200,000 people have died since the conflict in Syria began. More than 11 million people have been displaced.
Now, I don’t pretend to know the ins and outs of this conflict (although I found this website very helpful), but as I watch the consequences unfold I am horrified.
This week three year old Aylan Kurdi died. Like so many others before him. Like so many more will.
He drowned. His body washed up on a beach in Turkey.
He was the same age as my daughter.
His mother and older brother died with him.
It took the photo of this little boy, lying face down in the surf, to break through the apathy and the it isn’t happening here.
The media, both traditional and social, has been awash with comment and opinion.
I am saddened beyond measure by these senseless deaths. But, this conflict has been going on for four years. People are dying every day.
I am ashamed to say that I knew little of the background to this war.
I was aware of the headlines and the escalation and the refugee crisis. I knew of the boats, and the chaos at train stations and borders. I knew people were dying.
I knew, but I avoided the detail.
I am ashamed because that detail is Aylan Kurdi and his mother and his brother, and his father who has been left behind.
That detail is the thousands of people killed in the conflict.
That detail is the millions of people displaced.
That detail is the millions of children without safe shelter, education, protection.
That detail is human beings, just like us, dying because they felt they had no option left but to get into a dangerous, over crowded boat and try to reach a safer shore.
These are not migrants, they are refugees. They are fleeing because they are in fear for their lives.
They are not fleeing because they choose to, they are fleeing because they have no choice.
This is a humanitarian crisis. We cannot continue to ignore the detail.
I may not be able to do much, but I can do something. I can support those who are directly helping those in need.
I can add my voice.
And so can you.
For those of you in the UK, you can TEXT 70008 and the word SYRIA to donate £5. [Click here for Save the Children’s Terms & Conditions.]
Web donations can be made via Save the Children’s Syria Appeal.
My voice may be too little, but I hope it is not too late.
And, I hope that by joining my voice with others we can raise awareness.
Because, this is happening. To families; to sons and daughters and mums and dads. People just like us.
I am proud to be part of a wonderful group of bloggers working to raise awareness. Look out for posts across social media throughout the weekend. If you would like to join in, we will be sharing black & white images (with our children or ourselves or simply with the message) on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram. Use the hashtag #SaveSyriasChildren. Or, share the video below. These are our children; we share them with you.
Thanks to Alexandra for creating this video from our images.