Move over Cecil the lion the dead Syrian children need the limelight
You’ve most likely seen the photos of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi and his older brother Galip, 5, both drowned fleeing Syria for better lives in the West, their bodies washed up on Turkish shores.
Their faces are all over the papers, images ostensibly intended to shock us from apathy into action but working only to exploit one family’s personal tragedy as mourn porn.
What did the editors of our caring national newspapers think a dead body looked like? And why is it that a dead child should matter more than a dead anyone or someone escaping a living Hell?
Aylan and Galip are being used to bolster our own morals, a fact no more evidenced than in the Sun, which has spent years mocking and demonising migrants of all ages but now champions the dead.
The pictures of dead children infantalise any debate, reducing it to a posing contest between people outraged at the sight of dead kids on a European beach and those who are not (which is to say nobody sane).
A few weeks ago, the internet seethed at the picture of a dead lion named Cecil. The dead beast gave us all a chance to declare how much we hated his killer, an American dentist named… Can you remember it? Oh, come on. We all hated him. He was World Enemy Number One, real scum. He was on the national news in the UK. Mia Farrow tweeted his home address so we could all go round and throw things at him. The man was a demon.
Cecil, a big-fanged lion who it might have been acceptable to shoot dead 100 years ago, was our hero and our means to look good, go ahead and morally spot on. Tweeting your love for Cecil was as self-aggrandising and needy as wearing a T-shirt declaring your dislike of nuclear war and Pershing missiles. Cecil was PR for the PC. Not long after, wildlife killer and Royal family marketing gonk Prince Harry popped up on the news cycle to show his love for lions.
(Although most other animals think Harry’s a c***)
Now, about those children. Who can we blame to make ourselves feel good, pure of mind and sound of heart?
After all, it’s not about Cecil or Aylan Kurdi or Galip. It’s about us.