“Let this be the last.”
Images of Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach sparked worldwide debate and sympathy last week.
The three-year-old refugee drowned, along with his five-year-old brother, Galip, his mother, Rehan, and several other asylum seekers, when their dinghy capsized in the dark of the night as they attempted to reach the Greek island of Kos.
Aylan was discovered face down, waves gently lapping his limp and sodden body, in the resort town of Bodrum – a far cry from his home in northern Syria.
The image filled social news and media sites, sparking despair and discussion about whether publishing the “disaster porn” was morally right.
Importantly, it provoked many people to donate to one of the organisations offering aid to the many refugees in the midst of the humanitarian crisis.
Or, at least, to think about the plight of those so desperate to escape their war-torn homes that they would risk their own lives and those of their loved ones on the dangerous journey to what they hope is a better life.
It prompted people to put themselves in the shoes of Aylan’s devastated father, who lost his entire family in one fell swoop, and to consider the refugee dilemma in a more compassionate light.
But, sadly, Aylan’s death is not an isolated case.
The shocking photos of their tiny, lifeless bodies washed up on foreign shores may not have gone viral, but plenty of children are suffering the same fate as Aylan as they make the treacherous voyage away from everything they know.
Dozens of similar photos have emerged in recent months as the number of migrants fleeing their war-torn homes rivals the migration rates of World War II.
Last month, the bodies of five children were discovered washed up in Libya after a boat carrying 450 people capsized.
Heartbreaking images emerged of a lifeless young boy in a t-shirt and nappy, a girl dressed in pink trousers and a floral top and an older child in a blue jumper and black shorts – the collateral damage of continents in crisis.