The photo of a drowned Syrian child was a wake up call for Europe, but Arabs see it differently

Published September 3rd, 2015 - 03:11 GMT
The photo of a 3-year-old drowning victim shocked the world, but not everyone agrees who to blame.
The photo of a 3-year-old drowning victim shocked the world, but not everyone agrees who to blame.

The world was grimly captivated this week by the harrowing image of the lifeless body of a Syrian refugee child washed up on Turkish shores. 

Later identified as, 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi from Kobani, the toddler’s family was reportedly trying to reach Canada, according to Turkish media. His is just one of 12 lives lost Wednesday when a boat headed for the Greek island of Kos overturned. 

Hours after it hit Twitter, the photo had become the site’s top trending image, bringing to the forefront the devastating reality of the refugee crisis and prompting the Turkish hashtag, #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik (humanity washed ashore).

But while Western countries used the image to illustrate the immediate need for European countries to rethink their refugee policies, the Arab world saw a different call to action. 

You may remember about a week ago, when an Arabic hashtag  استضافة_لاجئي_سوريا_واجب_خليجي popped out of the region, which in English translates to "hosting Syrian refugees is a Gulf duty."

That hashtag was revived with a vigor on Thursday. And while no one's condoning how Europe has so far handled the increasingly dire situations refugees find themselves in there, the latest events have also spurred the Arab world to call out their oil-rich brethren in the Gulf. 

Since the beginning of the crisis, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have taken in exactly zero Syrian refugees.

It's important to note, these countries have thrown a lot of humanitarian aid toward the Syrian crisis over the last five years. Still, social media users this week pointed out it wasn’t necessarily money the Syrians needed, but a new place to call home.

A number of Arabic cartoonists showed up online — including some big names like Jordan's Omar Abdallat — with works describing just that. 

Have a look at some of the comics below, via Facebook and Twitter.

Here, a man in traditional Gulf wear is seen yelling at the European Union: "Why don't you open the door, you heartless person." Meanwhile, his own door is surrounded by barbed wire. 

Same idea for the one below, from Jordan's Omar Abdallat, a crocodile dressed in the traditional Gulf keffiyah is crying "crocodile tears," uselessly as a Syrian drowns. We think you can deduce what that one means. 

 

 

 

 

 

This last one quotes a line from one of the Arab world's most revered poets, Mahmoud Darwish. It reads: "The letter "Doud" will not save you, do not go any further."

Arabic letter "ظ" pronounced "doud, produces a sound unique to Arabic, insinuating Arabs are not helping each other. Below the famous Darwish phase, we see the sketch of a boy dressed exactly as the toddler on the Turkish beach was.

 

And finally, the plain and simple: 

 

 

 

#Refugees welcomed by:Saudi... 0Kuwait... 0Qatar... 0Emirates... 0Bahrain... 0

Posted by Muslim Mamas on Wednesday, September 2, 2015

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