Heartbreak in the headlines
"Mighty @TerryGlavin on the two dead children who broke so many hearts today. Their family wanted to come to Canada," details Paul Wells at Maclean's Magazine, linking to Terry Glavin's Ottawa Citizen investigation into the Syrian boy who washed ashore in Turkey yesterday (at 15,000+ shares and mounting). Immigration minister Chris Alexander reportedly had promised to look into the family's request to immigrate, but ultimately rejected it. "Not often does a single story end a career and change the course of an election. This one from @terryglavin might," predicts Glavin's colleague Glen McGregor, who then adds, "Need to hear from Alexander to be fair, but this looks devastating, even if CPC will blame the Turks. Just awful." Drew Hinshaw with the Wall Street Journal cautiously tweets, "Wary of making the Syrian boy a meme. But sharing this as it breaks down how West+Turkey failed him, millions more." Middle East-focused freelance journalist Rebecca Collard laments, "Scary that Aylan could be on the beach in Vancouver with his aunt now, but we said 'no', so he's here."
Release the takes.
At Human Rights Watch, Peter Bouckaert explains "why I shared a horrific photo of a drowned Syrian child." Bouckaert writes, "Some say the picture is too offensive to share online or print in our newspapers. But what I find offensive is that drowned children are washing up on our shorelines ..." The New York Times reports that other activists are in agreement with him, saying the brutal images must be seen. "His name was Aylan, 3, same age as my kid. We ran foto as 'stark testimony of an unfolding human tragedy'," shares S. Mitra Kalita with the LA Times. The Guardian's Helena Smith also writes that the images demonstrate the tragic plight of refugees. Although Philip Sherburne of Pitchfork argues, "I do think there are some good arguments here against showing it, especially from Vox (!)." Is publishing in fact voyeurism, as opposed to compassion?
So journalists are not entirely united on this front, it seems, although the consensus seems the antithesis of that which surrounded last week's graphic images from Roanoke.
More details only bring further heartbreak: a Canadian woman tried to sponsor the boy who drowned off Turkey. "Canada rejected aunt's attempt to sponsor #Syrian refugee mom, 2 young sons who drowned," explains PRI.org's David Beard. For the New York Times Magazine, Paolo Pellegrin and Scott Anderson followed and photographed the desperate crossing undertaken by many migrants. "To fit ~300 on this boat, smugglers put dozens of people on top of each other in the holds," shares NYT's Michael Gold. Many frustrated migrants are opting for the arctic route to Europe. "Cycling to safety: how some Syrian asylum seekers make it to Norway by crossing the border on a bike via Russia," elaborates WSJ's Bruce Orwall. Meanwhile, a blistering NYT editorial decries Australia's brutal, hardline response to would-be migrants, calling Prime Minister Tony Abbott's policies "inhumane, of dubious legality and strikingly at odds with the country’s tradition." The latest images from Budapest, Hungary only add a new disturbing layer.
But here are some humane responses these updates have already spurred: The Independent (where the photos were first published) has published a petition to welcome the refugees to the U.K. "Incredibly proud of the @Independent for taking a stand over this devastating crisis. Get involved," urges Heather Saul there. This is "SOMEBODY'S CHILD," colleague Amol Rajan reminds everyone. Simultaneously, TV journalist Dawn O'Porter has set up an Amazon universal wish list to purchase items for refugees through Help Calais. "Just bought five tents for refugees here - such a brilliant, fast, direct and compassionate idea," praises Caitlin Moran with The Times.