We Lost Them

The back door of the lorry shut. With it vanished the last ray of light, the last breath of fresh air. Lights out. No air. No hope. No life.

Wave after wave, their small boat rocked out of hope. Their bare feet will never tread on land ever again. They sink to the bottom of the sea, gasping for air, struggling for a better life, or just a life. “They’ve abandoned us,” they think as they leave this life.

They’re gone, and gone with them is the conscience of humanity. Their only fault: born in Syria, born in Libya.

Little children clinging onto their father, grabbing their mother, no more tears left, they’ve dried out. But fear remains, and will remain with them to the last second. Any shred of hope for a better life quickly evaporates as their boat capsizes, their lorry runs out of air. Their tragic end will be forgotten, no one will know their names, just numbers unworthy of a human emotion. A helpless one-year old baby girl, who is yet to know what life is, has gone. A father struggling to provide, a mother striving to give, does it matter that they are Syrian, Libyan? Does it matter that they do not have blue eyes or blonde hair, that they do things differently than others, that they speak different languages, have different traditions? Are they not worthy of a chance, of a smile, of some dignity, of life?

Yes, we have our own troubles in this land. Yes, it is not an easy life here. But nothing, nothing compares to their troubles. We receive some attention, some sympathy. Nothing for them, not even a shrug or a head shake of dismay or a tear or a cry. They are worthless, when in fact they are worth the world.

How life must be so cruel, so awful, to risk everything for a chance to arrive at safer lands, better opportunities. How cruel the heart of humanity must be to block their paths with obstacle after obstacle after obstacle. They will never reach where they want to reach, because of who they are, where they were born, the religion they were born into. Shame on a world that has been dried out of its sympathy, of its love for fellow humans, of its collective pursuit of life, a good life, for others before us. Shame on our generation, and the one before ours, that has let this happen, and happen too often. This is happening in our time and we are all silent. We have normalized their tragedies. Shame on us.


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