Watching ‘The Project’ on TV tonight I was taken by surprise with the story on a Syrian family, drowned at sea and washed up on a Turkish beach while trying to escape conflict and by the intense sadness I felt at seeing the images of the lifeless 3 year olds’ body lifted by a uniformed man from the edge of the sea. I couldn’t help myself – wanting to know more about them – I searched online, unfortunately then exposed to the image of him face down in the sand.
His last moments are difficult to think about. At sea in a dinghy with his mother, 5-year-old brother and his father, who survived, it’s such a terrible and sad waste of life. The photo that stayed with me, him and his brother, grinning madly, a teddy bear sitting between them on the couch. These could have been anyone’s boys.
I sit in my lounge room, plenty of comforts and space around me, having eaten dinner, fairly secure that what I plan to do tomorrow will take place without incident or hurdle. And I wonder. What am I doing?
An existential conversation with a friend today introduced me to the idea of asking the Universe for what you want, and even though this goes against the Catholic upbringing I had ingrained in me long ago, I am drawn back tonight to ask ‘What do you want Universe? Why do you keep doing this to people?’
I know I should be grateful; I should turn this into a positive for myself because I am lucky. I do not need to escape from a dangerous place to live and place my life in the hands of strangers. I do not need to go on the run because it is safer for my child’s future to do so. I can not even wrap my mind around being in a situation where the best choice is to hop into a dangerous overloaded boat and gamble that it will bring a better life and not death.
I suspect I will go to my grave not understanding the inequalities in life and if there is one thing I could wish to happen in my time, whether it be in the Mediterranean or Asia or Australia, it’s that people stop having to get into boats to save their lives, that refugees stop being jailed in the countries they flee to, and that little boys and their families stop drowning at sea needlessly.