Alan Kurdi - Life and Death - the complicity of former colonial power - parallax 2


Life and Death – the complicity of colonial powers

Since Alan Kurdi’s image went viral, activist campaigns and petitions have increased as citizens mobilize around the treatment of migrants and refugees along the volatile, deadly  borderzones of the UK and the EU. For example in the UK:

  • A petition (2015) with more than 450,000 signatures requested that the UK government accept more refugees from Syria: the “UK is not offering proportional asylum in comparison with European counterparts… We must help.”
  • An online petition from The Independent newspaper in 2015 aimed at supporting refugees to settle raised more than 380,000 signatures.
  • Even the Sun tabloid, whose columnist Susie Hopkins once described migrants as “cockroaches (Jones, 2015) launched a campaign to raise cash for refugee children (Wells, 2015).
  • Journalists and film-makers have also mobilized around this issue, particularly the deplorable conditions that minors live under in the former “jungle” in Calais for instance, or in camps and detention centres (Calais Children: A Case to Answer, Sue Clayton, 2017).
  • The poor record of the UK government towards reception and settlement of asylum seekers under international refugee law came under pressure to “fulfill Britain’s moral obligation to provide safe haven for tens of thousands of desperate refugees struggling to reach safety in Europe” (Wright et al., 2015).


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All viewers are respectfully advised that the site contains images of and references to the deaths in custody of Indigenous peoples, Black people and refugees that may cause distress.