Aylan Kurdi's family reacts to Australian singer's tribute to their late son

Published February 23rd, 2016 - 02:19 GMT
Higgins stressed that she meant no disrespect to the Kurdi family and was surprised her song has had global reach. (Facebook)
Higgins stressed that she meant no disrespect to the Kurdi family and was surprised her song has had global reach. (Facebook)

The death of three-year-old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi broke the hearts of millions around the world when a photo of his dead body laying motionless on a Turkish beach went viral last year.

Since his death in September 2015, celebrities and ordinary people showered Aylan's family with messages of support and acts of love.

On Thursday (18 February, 2016), Australian artist Missy Higgins released a single called "Oh Canada" as a tribute to the deceased, which describes the Kurdi family's tragic journey fleeing Syria.

However, her act of love was ill-received by Aylan's family, who was saddened by the song.

Alan's aunt Tima Kurdi sent the song to Aylan's father as soon as she heard it.

"He said, 'She is telling the truth. She is telling the story of the tragedy ... but honestly, every time somebody is using my son's picture, no matter what the reason is, it will put us down to zero with our feelings and bring back the pain,'" said Tima.

In an interview with Higgins in Melbourne, she told CBC News, "I just can't imagine losing my entire family," she said. "All that I can say is that I'm so, so sorry."

Higgins added that she wrote "Oh Canada" after feeling "completely devastated" after seeing Aylan's photo.

(A photo of Missy Higgins from her official account on Facebook)

The singer's goal was to remind the world of Aylan's tragedy in order not to let a similar incident occur and to create a sense of universal responsibility. 

While Tima found the song "beautiful," she said that both she and her brother would prefer it if anyone wishing to use Aylan's story as inspiration would let his family know first.

Meanwhile, Higgins stressed that she meant no disrespect to the Kurdi family and was surprised her song has had global reach.


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