In Spirit Blog

Somehow I don’t think this post will be very popular.  Today, I don’t care.

Boy Stick FigureNo doubt most of you will have seen the heartbreaking image of the body of the young Kurdish boy Alan Kurdi  lying on a beach in Turkey after his family’s failed attempt to escape the horrors of Syria.  An iconic image.  One that may stay with us for generations, much like the image of the young, naked Vietnamese girl running in terror down the street during the Vietnam war.  No need to republish the photo here to tug at your heartstrings.  It’s likely already imprinted in your mind forever.

This iconic image got me thinking about how obsessed we are about them.  The modern media runs on this fuel.  Earlier this week it was Miley Cyrus flashing her nipple for all to see on MTV.  This week it is a dead boy on a beach in Turkey trying to escape a crisis in his homeland.  So what will we have? Crisis or Cyrus?  Iconic images of victims of senseless violence or iconic images of people who are just plain senseless?   Perhaps it is all just a form of entertainment for rabid consumers of internet images.

What makes Alan Kurdi’s story even more compelling is that he and his family were trying to come to my country, Canada.  They were hoping to start a new life with his aunt.  The system failed him, his brother and mother (who also died) and of course his entire family.  Something about Turkey not fully in step with the UN regulations on refugees.  Canada not able to help because other members of the fleeing family could not produce the correct documentation to qualify as refugees.  As someone who spent months trying to secure a visitor’s visa for an African friend a few years back, I understand the complexity.  I also understand why it is important for countries to have processes to ensure they are not unintentionally bringing in terrorists.  Being a compassionate nation is complex.  Just ask any American about Mexican immigrants.  A hot topic for sure.

In Canada, we are in a federal election campaign.  Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the chattering to start about how our current government needs to do more for refugees.  How, if elected, candidate “x” or “y” would fix things and open our doors wide.  Shame on the other guys!  Shame on Canadians for not caring more about Syrians!  Across the border to the south, shame on candidate “x” for not caring about Mexicans!  Shame on Americans!

Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus bares her nipple with no shame…and the culture swoons.  Innovator!  Courageous!  She’s topped her live twerk or naked wrecking ball video.  Miley swings naked on a wrecking ball while ISIS wrecks ancient temples, entire villages and people’s lives.  Is our culture bi-polar?  Seems like we can’t decide what to fixate on.  Crisis or Cyrus or some other self-obsessed celebrity like Caitlyn Jenner or Kim Kardashian.  While Alan Kurdi lies dead on a beach in Turkey.

Perhaps instead of getting angry and blaming others for what happened to that precious little boy it is time to look in the mirror.  Let this be a wake-up call to a culture has lost its way into a forest of self-obsession.

John Matthews

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Showing 3 comments
  • Susanne diessner

    The German government took on 800 thousand refugees this year…their capacity is 500 thousand..just imagine? Germany is not even the size of BC!! The refugees are not only Syrians but also people from Greece,Albania..and the United Nations are sitting there debating where to put these people? Canada is my home for 26 years and I am dissapointed how they handle foreign policies and the problems with people who have to flee their countries, …it’s about understanding the situation these human beings and the danger they’re in,in their own country….God doesnt want us to fight war with more violence…we are supposed to step back and think: what would love do?

    • B2E Group

      Wow! I didn’t realize that Germany was taking in so many refugees. Good on them. Maybe they are not so obsessed with the self-obsessed celebrities like we are in the West?

  • Susanne diessner

    There are serious political issues. They say that the US is trying to destabilize the EU? ? My friend in Austria says Austria rescued 200 thousand refugees but they don’t know what to do. .so many are stuck in Hungary and Greece…I’m glad this county is protesting right now. Things will change when people stop separating themselves from the whole,being more informed and concious about reality and the consequences …..we have too many sleep walkers. .

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