It has been one long year since a toddler in red T-shirt and blue shorts washed up on a Turkish beach.
The image of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, lying facedown after a perilous journey across the Mediterranean, shook the world. His tiny lifeless body silenced the leaders who had been quarreling over how to deal with the migrants. In fact, the harrowing photo became a symbol of Syria’s refugee crisis.
However, it was not enough to improve the situation for refugee children. Everyone wept for the young life who perished at the sea, but it was all for a moment. He wasn’t the first child to drown and he certainly was not the last — but no one seems to care anymore.
“The politicians said after the deaths in my family: Never again!” Aylan’s bereaved father, Abdullah Kurdi, lamented on his son’s first death anniversary. “Everyone claimed they wanted to do something because of the photo that touched them so much. But what is happening now? People are still dying and nobody is doing anything about it.”
His wife Rehab and his oldest son, Galip, 5, also drowned that fateful day.
The 41-year-old now lives alone in an apartment in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, where he has kept his late son’s stuffed toys in the living room to remember him by.
“These things must be shown to make clear to people what is happening, but in the end the picture did not change much. The horror in Syria must finally stop,” he added. “Now I'm probably safer than I've ever been in my life. But for what?”
Countless children have experienced the same fate since then. The video above shows the innocent faces of a few of those who embarked on a journey to safe haven but never reached the shore. Some even made it to the land, but did not survive for much longer.
The International Organization for Migration claims about 284,572 people have made the Mediterranean crossing so far in 2016. Since Aylan’s death, 4,185 drowned trying to reach Europe compared to 3,713 in the year before that.
Moreover, refugee deaths are up by more than 1,000 as compared to 2015.
The crisis persists — so why has the world stopped talking about it?