A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Editor’s Note: In September 2015, a powerful photograph of Aylan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian refugee who washed up dead on a Turkish beach, put a human face on the terrible tragedy of constant warfare in the Middle East. Aylan Kurdi was an innocent; so too was his older brother and mother. They all died fleeing the civil war that has engulfed Syria and surrounding lands.
Aylan Kurdi (left) and his older brother Galip both died fleeing war
The photograph helped to galvanize efforts to help war refugees, but the effect was temporary. Already a new narrative was building that many of these refugees were dangerous, perhaps even predators or terrorists. The shift in narrative reached a new level of twisted cynicism in a recent cartoon in Charlie Hebdo that features Aylan Kurdi, all grown up, chasing a German woman in an attempt to assault her sexually.
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