Aylan Kurdi drowned in the Aegean Sea last night, in a way symbolising the refugee crisis in Syria and Iraq, that world has ignored coldly. The family of three were making a desperate attempt to flee their war ravaged town Kobani, which is in the midst of heavy fighting between Kurdish fighters and ISIS. Their boats from Turkish coast capsized overnight enroute to Kos, Greece.
As a parent, as a father, I could not bear to see the pictures. For a long long time I could not get a grasp around myself. How should I react to it? I just do not know. I don't know what else to do with it other than write. I mourn this existence. I mourn my helplessness, in my inconsequential ways, which no way can make the plight of many more Aylan's better: A boy who deserved to live.
The story goes like…
Once upon a time there was a boy. He lived in a village that no longer exists, in a house that no longer exists, on the edge of the field that no longer exists; where he rode through the woods on a brown ox; where fairy tales had been his first experience of a magical world. A stick that could be a sword, a pebble could be a diamond, a tree, a castle. In the widest imagination of his secret world, the possibilities were vast and many.
The magic dragon would come and play in spring time, while summers were spent in open fields. The thought of water would tickle a glint in his naughty eyes, while he would rush to throw himself in. In the autumn light, his air shone like a King's crown. He would shake the soot off his pockets and scratch his butt and wipe his nose, all the time. He jumped and jostled in and out from a meagre hut his parents lived in. A pause in the day's occupation of his mother would be his smile. The one that lasted till the last glint rays of a setting sun would perch through the sills of a window that faced their garden, where he would eat his dinner from a terracotta bowl, at the howling of dogs.
Once upon a time there was a boy, who threw his arms open in the lap of his father. A man used to grief and grey clouds, battered by the vagaries of war, he would thrill at the thunder of his golden locks and shake the dust of his feet, while standing on a ground too good to last, too solid to be true. He could sense craters but kept quiet. The boy's innocent smile carried hopes from some other world; he had no idea of, yet he believed. They collected the world in their handfuls, this father and son duo.
Once upon a time there was a boy, whose laughter was a leaflet; who shook us from the pits of hells. He said up in the heaven they got harps in arm pits and dangling panpipes that blow a bugle. They are plotting and planning here. This dinghy rowing in this sea is too small for a world I imagined. They climb into my turret he protested, while the fairies devour me with kisses. There was a whisper and then a silence. He broke the walls. Aylan knows that a thread of a story, stitches a wound.
And so he died… and we cried.
While the loss of this child and pictures being widely shared over social media have stirred a hornet's nest, yet I could not stop myself from keeping the political side out of it. The abject silence of the Arab world in this matter is a rude reminder to all the self-righteous Muslims who claim tall about Ummah and Khilafat. Come out of this utopian dream. We leave no attempt in admonishing the West and its policies against Muslims at large. While it is this same west that opened its borders to these refugees. No Saudi Arabia, no UAE, no Qatar. Yes, the so called Kuffars have come to their rescue. What does this speak about us? Not that I had ever any hope from this petro dollar economy. Zing zany roads and glittery buildings. You have a cold heart. Let Aylan sleep somewhere, where it's warm.
"Yes, there is a Nirvanah in putting your child to sleep," says Kahlil Gibran.