Don’t look away

America must do more to aid the Middle East’s refugees

The heartbreaking photographs of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi, the Kurdish boy whose lifeless body washed up on a beach in Turkey last week, are impossible to forget. They’re a stark reminder of the desperation of the millions of people attempting to flee Syrian government forces as well as the Islamic State’s reign of terror there and in other parts of the Middle East and Africa.

The toddler’s mother and father had set off from Turkey, with him and his older brother in tow. They were bound for the Greek island of Kos, a gateway to the European Union and safety from their war-ravaged home in Syria. Their plan, like those of the estimated 600 other refugees arriving in Greece under the cover of darkness on a daily basis, was to seek asylum. But like thousands before them, the family didn’t make the trip intact.

Alan’s mother and 5-year-old brother also perished when the small boat carrying them across a stretch of the Mediterranean capsized. Abdullah Kurdi tried to save his sons and wife, but managed only to save himself. Nine others, including six more children, drowned during the tragic event.

There are other photos of the Kurdi children circulating the Internet. One shows the sweet young brothers sitting next to one another, Alan with an impish grin on his face. Look at that photo and then look at the one of a Turkish police officer averting his eyes as he carries the child’s tiny body from the beach.

We must not look away as he did, just as we must not look away from this crisis. Germany is taking the lead on sheltering the refugees, yet here in the States, the government has done little to aid the response. America must do better than that. The lives of more innocent children are at stake.