Alan Kurdi-Retracing the Kurdis' journey – on land and at sea - parallax 1


Retracing the Kurdis’ journey – on land and at sea

The world got to know about Alan through the global circulation of this particular photograph.  Since then this image has multiplied and been adapted as part of a digitally networked iconography of death, suffering, and survival.

When did Alan and his family set out on their journey from Kobane (Syria), passing through Turkey, before embarking on the boat that capsized in sight of the Kos shoreline in Greece three years later.

According to one news article, “the Kurdi family had escaped Damascus and headed to Aleppo before moving to Kobani when fighting broke out”. Mustefa Ebd, a local journalist from Kobani, reports that the family had been repeatedly displaced within Syria, finally ending up in Bodrum, Turkey.

From there, like thousands of others, they attempted the crossing over to Greece, on the EU side of the border, on 2nd September, 2015. The journey ended on the same day with twelve people from this one boat dead, including three out of the four Kurdi family-members.


[imagecaption] These maps show how, once in Turkey, the Kurdi family of four travelled from Izmer and then left to Bodrum. They then left the shores of Bodrum in a five-metre rubber boat heading towards the Greek island of Kos. This three-mile mile journey is popular as it is the shortest route to Europe – see the map below, a route that the Kurdi family, like tens of thousands of others in recent years, undertook in order to reach the shorelines of Europe. The Kurdis wanted to get to Greece as a stepping-stone to Germany or Sweden (Channel 4 News, 2015). Media reports suggest that they were taken to the boat where someone was waiting for them. In an interview with Paris-based Radio Rozana, Mr Kurdi reported that he paid 4000 euros –  to a Turkish and a Syrian man – to be taken at midnight to the departure point, one hour away from where they were living. Bodrum city in Turkey is about this distance away from where they embarked for the Greek Island of Kos is located: See the map below (video interview with Mr Kurdi (Smith, 2015). Images developed by Raed Yacoub.[/imagecaption]

The first map above shows the Kurdi family’s route in their three-year trip that included Kobane, Damascus, Aleppo and Bodrun in Turkey before their sea crossing to Kos in Greece. The second map plots the trajectory of the one-hour trip from where the Kurdi family were living to the crossing point from Bodrum (Turkey) to Kos (Greece). Images developed by Raed Yacoub.


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