Man should never have to make tiny coffins and babies should not die in the sea. When I first saw you, you were wearing a red t-shirt, blue shorts, and cute little leather soled shoes with the Velcro undone. You looked like you had fallen asleep at the beach, on your tummy, bum up, waiting for your mama to come and get you.But you were not sleeping, you were dead.You became the world’s little boy, and the world is crying for all the years you will miss being alive, sharing your gifts, loving and being loved, especially by your papa who misses you to the moon and back. So many mommies and daddies are holding their little boys a little tighter today.I wonder about you Aylan. Were your eyes the color of the ocean that sent you to heaven? Did you put your own shoes on, like a big boy on the night of your doomed journey? Did you feel your papa holding you desperately trying to keep your head above the waves. Have you found your mama and your brother Galip in Heaven?Were you light and love, mischief and pranks? Or did you live your short life in terror and sadness, hunger and squalor?I am so sorry that you didn’t make it to Canada. It is a lovely place, where people care about each other, where little boys can go to school, ride bikes, and play games, where they have choices and friends and play dates and their very own dog and don’t see horrible things little boys should never see.They don’t have to risk their lives getting onto inflatable boats in the deep ocean to find freedom and safety.Your auntie said you never had a toy to play with. In Canada you would have had Little Tykes, and Hot Wheels and LeapFrog and Megablocks. You would have been lost in the imaginary world of the Lion King and the Muppets, sung songs from Frozen, played in the snow and made sandcastles at the beach. But the photo of you on the beach puts you into a club no child should be in. You join Phan Jim Phuc, the little Vietnamese girl running away from a napalm attack, and the unnamed Sudanese baby being preyed upon by a vulture. Maybe your photo is the one that will open people’s hearts to the endless possibilities found when we don’t look away, when we stop pointing fingers towards politicans, terrorists, nations, policies, bureaucrats, traffickers, and overloaded boats carrying children and mothers to their graves. When we say we are sad but what can we do?You are everyone’s little boy Aylan, and we are all to blame for the horror you went through, and the horror too many children of the world, behind borders that don’t matter, are living every hour of every day until they, too, pass through hell on earth to get to Heaven, too early, too tragically. All of us, in the whole world, can honor you by loving each other and taking care of each other and speaking up, speaking out, and not stopping.Maybe this time, maybe this time.You are free now and I am sorry it took the unforgiving unrelenting waves of the Aegean Sea to give you what you should have had in life on earth.Freedom. Love. Peace.Even now you are sleeping in eternity I can only believe that you were planted on Earth to bloom in heaven. Take flight, my boy. Soar.
Until next time, do something fabulous for somebody else
Sian Erith Thomson