Temper compassion with some wisdom before opening borders
THREE-year-old Aylan Kurdi lies face down on the beach, lapped by the sea that drowned him. His chubby hands are curled as if in sleep. No wonder the world has recoiled, aghast. This speaks straight to our conscience.
Suppress your doubts. This tiny body – the littlest asylum seeker – on a Turkish beach should finally open our hearts. Even our borders.
“When I saw that photo, I felt sick,” declared Labor leader Bill Shorten, himself a father. “That’s why Labor also believes that over time we should take more refugees.” Another 13,000 a year, actually – a doubling of what we already struggle to assimilate. The Government is now considering taking in more Syrian refugees, without revealing how many of those four million they have in mind. We have already agreed to take 4400 Syrians and Iraqis fleeing ISIS.
And around the world politicians and journalists have imposed on Aylan’s body this agenda – and a story that actually does not fit the facts.
You see, Aylan was not in “harm’s way”. He was not a refugee. His family was not fleeing danger. Indeed, what his father particularly sought in Europe was a good dentist.
Yes, Aylan’s terrible death does not tell us to open our borders. If anything, it warns us to be wary of the consequences of badly directed “compassion”.
Aylan’s family, while originally from the Syrian border town of Kobani, recently besieged by ISIS, had actually been living in safety in Turkey for three years.
Their Facebook page shows them in Istanbul, feeding pigeons by the great New Mosque. Aylan’s father Abdullah worked on construction sites. No wonder, perhaps, that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees