You've probably seen the photos of the drowned Syrian toddler lying facedown on the Turkish beach. It's everywhere on the Internet. I don't know how I feel about such horrific, intimate images "going viral." Before you like and look away - a few facts.
  1. His name was Aylan Kurdi.
    Names are important.
  2. Aylan was three years old.
    What were you doing at three years old? I was going to preschool and playing with my baby brother. I had a home and the neighbors were friendly. There weren't bombs or panicked escapes or walking for miles and miles in tiny little sneakers.
  3. Aylan was dressed like Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes.
    This was unintentional. But there's something about a little red t-shirt and black shorts and sneakers - a common outfit, I'm sure - but I found myself searching the pictures to see if a stuffed tiger had washed up, too. Silly me. There wasn't room for Aylan to bring a stuffed animal. The dinghies were too small.
  4. Aylan's hometown was the site of a MASSACRE.
    Aylan was from Kobani, Syria - a major battle site of Kurdish and daesh forces. In June, daesh murdered over 150 civilians and took 100 hostages. He couldn't stay there.
  5. Aylan had nowhere else to go.
    Turkey is overwhelmed and under-resourced, and there's a good bit of fighting and bombings happening on the reg. To get to Jordan, his family would have had to travel the entire length of Syria, through some even more awful parts. Greece must have looked like their only option.
  6. Aylan's spot on the dinghy cost over €1000
    From reports I'm seeing, surviving refugees paid anywhere between €1000 - €2050. I don't even think I have €1000 in my bank account right now. It was probably a good chunk of his family's life savings... To try to save his life.
  7. Aylan's crossing was a "safe route."
    Akyarlar, Turkey to Kos, Greece is only about 2km. Two kilometers. They could see the shore. It's considered one of the "safest" Mediterranean routes because of the short distance and relative calmness of the water. But even calm seas can't compensate for wildly overweighted and unbalanced dinghies.
  8. Aylan's brother and mom also drowned.
    Galip was five. Rihan was 27. Names are important.
  9. You have to understand / no one puts their children on a boat / unless the water is safer than the land
    Warsan Shire is a Somali/English poet and her poems on refugee turmoil just... Get it. Go read "Home" and "Conversations about home (at the deportation centre)"
  10. Aylan died.
    He was three years old and his entire life was war and the ravages of it. This flimsy, overcrowded dinghy was his ONLY option. And he died. I see flickers of the consequences of daesh everywhere - from the refugees I teach, to the news, to every time I check social media. And still. This story has really, deeply bothered me... And it bothers me that so many people don't know. Or don't care. For all my bubbly lists, there's some bad shit going on over here. And I can't look away.