Do we measure respect/disrespect through the race card? The eyes of the ‘white’ man? Because he renders sharing images of massacred ‘white’ people ‘disrespectful’ – do we too extend this to ‘coloured’ people?
Who said sharing images of dead people is disrespectful? This is a matter of life and death – not luxuries. Fooling ourselves in thinking ‘words will suffice’ is like banging out heads with a hammer and pretending that the last four years haven’t happened. Words won’t suffice. Neither will pictures. But pictures will show the world the scale of the tragedy and the plight of refugees – which words may not always deliver. People are not interested in stories. They’re not interested at all, and won’t be unless they’re shocked.
Disrespect is measuring tragedy against tragedy. Disrespect is reducing a plight to a race issue when it is far from anything of such. Disrespect is unwilling to shift from your comfort zone whilst others are drowning. They drown with no voices in an endless sea – and you drown their images with rhetoric on ‘disrespect’. Disrespect is not listening to them – they who tell us ‘the world needs to see!’
Disrespect is accusing others of abusing a cause for their own agenda – when the only agenda on the table is to show the world. The world which doesn’t listen to words – but can’t keep blinding itself to the distressful images of a nation fleeing horror and murder – capsizing on fate on their way to flickering light they desperately sight on the shore.
Dehumanisation doesn’t come with ‘sharing pictures repeatedly until it becomes normal’. I see the sky daily and nightly – and almost every hour of my life – yet it never fails to amaze me. Dehumanisation is assuming your argument and your voice are sound and above all rest – dehumanisation is sheltering yourself and others from the brutality inflicting those less privileged than you are – by hiding their images from your sight. Dehumanisation is not giving the boy in the red shirt a voice in his death – when it was the only voice he was ever given in both his life and death. Dehumanisation is you – how fears immunity – you who cares more for you sanity than the lives of children. Dehumanisation is not an image. Perhaps a cartoon – I see the logic in that. But not in a distressful real image.
The topic is an empty one – and yet one which reeks with privilege. From our safety and comfort we discipline others via screens on respect and the laws of humanity. Nobody wants the images to be shared. Nobody wants such images to even exist. Sharing such images shouldn’t be okay. But in the unprecedented situation of desperateness Syrians are now facing, drowning in the hundreds and thousands at closed borders and in vast endless seas – they’re one of the few thing we can work with to change the situation.
Let’s maybe take a step back from our luxuries and look beyond. These people want the world to know. That boy deserved a life. And if in his life he wasn’t granted his basic rights, perhaps his heart-wrenching death sprawled on the shores of Bodrum will spur us to save the lives of thousands of other children.