Postcard from Turkey

On the 2nd September the body of a 3 year old Syrian boy washed up on the beach of Bodrum, Turkey. He, along with his brother and mother were 3 of 12 people to drown as their boats capsized trying to cross the Aegean Sea from Turkey to the Greek island of Kos. I’m not going to post the picture here, it’s fairly distressing and to be honest you’ve probably already seen it splashed across newspapers and webpages. It’s the image that brought the plight of Syrian refugees into the immediate consciousness of the rest of the world.

This unfolded whilst I was attending the RGS/IBG Annual Conference at the University of Exeter, a week before my trip to Turkey. Relatives and friends asked, ‘You’re not going to Bodrum are you?’ ‘Ummm I don’t think so’, but as I googled my tour destinations I realised that whilst I wasn’t going to Bodrum, I was going very close, touring up the same coastline.

Debates raged in the media and in conversation around ‘the image of the little boy’. Should this be shown? YES, I though, we need to be shocked into action. We need to see this! But do shocking images really make us change? I thought so, but now I doubt myself. Continue reading