03 September 2015

Humanity Washed Ashore

“The full horror of the human tragedy unfolding on the shores of Europe was brought home on Wednesday as images of the lifeless body of a young boy – one of at least 12 Syrians who drowned attempting to reach the Greek island of Kos – encapsulated the extraordinary risks refugees are taking to reach the west.

The picture, taken on Wednesday morning, depicted the dark-haired toddler, wearing a bright-red T-shirt and shorts, washed up on a beach, lying face down in the surf not far from Turkey’s fashionable resort town of Bodrum.

A second image portrays a grim-faced policeman carrying the tiny body away. Within hours it had gone viral becoming the top trending picture on Twitter under the hashtag #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik (humanity washed ashore).”


This was an excerpt of just one of the stories about the boy. Over the last few days, dozens have been written and published on various major news sites. What is more striking than the content of the posts, is the comments that are left on these articles. What is humanity’s response to such images, to such news? If you have a moment, I would suggest to read through the comments. It ranges from expressing shock, to sending love and prayers, to abdicating responsibility, to assigning blame to the parents, countries, presidents, religions and then it just goes into back-and-forth bickering over ‘what kind of person you are’.

That just makes you wonder...

When I read/hear such events and news stories – what I see is that: we’re more and more coming to a point where we can no longer ignore the painful truth that what happens on this planet is a problem for everyone – they are no longer ‘far away’ – what we’re accepting and allowing, even just through our ignorance and complacency – is literally washing up our shores. Does it help, then, to assign blame? Does it help, then, to debate over the exact historical figure and events that led up to the problems we’re facing today?

We can no longer afford to think in terms of ‘us vs. them’ and ‘my country vs. your country’ or ‘my religion vs. your religion’ – because it’s simply not constructive. It’s a similar point with climate change – does it really matter who started it? Can we really afford to debate over who should take the first step?

When recently traveling to Belgium with my sister and her little boy, we spent a lot of time on playgrounds. It was fascinating to see so many families of different origins, with different cultures and speaking different languages all in the same place. Belgians were actually in the minority. But more interesting was to see the difference in how the parents interacted (or rather, didn’t) and how the children interacted with each other. The parents stayed away from each other, individually watching their children from the sidelines and stepping in when needed, kind of avoiding each other. The children, on the other hand – would all play harmoniously together on the playground. It didn’t seem to make a difference to them what the other child looked like, what they were wearing or even what language they spoke. They would actually adapt and use more body language to get a point across.

My point being… how the world exists today is one version of what can be – and is a result of our collective history. At the same time, there exists a potential for a different way of living together. If we wait, stand aside and refuse to look for solutions that will actually work for everyone – we know our children will end up doing the same – and that potential for a different world is lost.

We still have a ‘choice’ in how we address these global problems, or at least – it seems like we do – because we haven’t yet seen the worst of it. Despite problems escalating, there seems to still be a belief in many that ‘things will work themselves out’ – call it ‘Disney-brainwashing’. But if we’re going to find sustainable solutions, we better do it now – and we better include everyone in the benefits. If you follow the trends of the ‘state of the world’ – what we’re doing to the planet, what we’re doing to each other – it’s very likely our children will no longer have that choice, that chance to say: okay, let’s turn this ship around.

So, from one human being to another – we’re all here, all living and breathing – and all capable of working together if we choose to, all capable of focusing on formulating solutions that work for everyone, all capable of standing up and no longer assuming someone else will solve our problems for us.

So, I invite you to – if you have an idea, if you are part of the solution – SPEAK OUT - let’s hear about ideas and solutions, start constructive discussions, connect and support each other.

Here is the solution I stand for: A Living Income Guaranteed for All – read about it and share what you think. Then share what you stand for! The Living Income Guaranteed crew hosts weekly hangouts, a platform where ideas and solutions are discussed and promoted. So, if you want your idea and solution to get some extra attention, you can also contact livingincome@equallife.org and be welcomed on a live hangout!

Let’s start a new trend:



Post a Comment