A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Power of an Image May Grab Our Attention for a Day, But What of Tomorrow?

The heartbreaking image of a drowned Syrian toddler washed ashore on a Turkish beach is all over the media today, including much of the Arab media. Out of respect for the dead I see no need to reproduce it here, but for a while at least it is calling attention to the plight of the refugees and the immense human tragedy that is intensifying.

Much outrage is being expressed in the Arab media. Yet outside of Lebanon and Jordan, few Arab countries have been welcoming to refugees and those two plus Turkey are at saturation point. Egypt has accepted some, though it is harder to reach. The countries of the Arabian Peninsula, who have in various ways helped stir the pot in Syria, have done little for the refugees. Europe's response is obviously mixed.

The image of a dead child will no doubt, for a time, increase charitable contributions to refugee causes. But a month from now a year from now will anyone still remember? The sheer enormity of the disaster boggles the mind, but a photo today touched the world. For a moment. But will anything be done?

1 comment:

freude bud said...

Any thoughts on what should be done in Syria by the U.S.? As far as I can tell there are no good options. Hell, I haven't even seen half-bad ones.