Alan Kurdi - Our right to live, hope, and dream-parallax 5


Our right to live, hope, and dream

Some commentators (e.g. Delingpole, 2015) have cast doubt on the veracity of the Kurdi family’s story, suggesting that Mr Kurdi had received financial support from his sister in Canada (Tima Kurdi) while living in Turkey for three years. This version implies that “they were in no immediate danger”. Other pundits have claimed that the family left Syria for Abdullah Kurdi to get dental treatment in Canada (Delingpole, 2015).

These speculations raise an important question about how we – as onlookers via media reports, even spectators of video images of these ‘dramas’ – respond to the “suffering of others” (Susan Sontag, 2004). To draw this case-study to a close, we ask, therefore: why should a refugee not have ambitions or dreams? Surely, all human beings should be allowed to make plans for the future. Doing so creates hope. Reports, such as those above, imply that refugees have ‘no right’ to want more out of life beyond mere survival. Such tropes contribute to the de-humanizing and, thereby, delegitimizing of not only the rights of refugees, but of the human rights of us all. Asylum-seekers and the displaced through civil war and other armed conflicts, along with the dispossessed – of land and cultural heritage, or those who become homeless through natural or human-made disasters should be enabled to pursue their hopes, dreams, and ambitions.

“We’ve learned of refugees’ incredible resilience and sense of hope against all odds”

“Despite suffering sometimes unimaginable trauma, refugees are picking their way into the future. We need to learn from them”

Laila Soudi, Hana Abu-Hassan (The Guardian, 2016)



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