Don’t flinch

Don’t flinch.
Stare at three year old Aylan.
Stare at him lying on a beach, his face half buried in the wet sand.
Stare at his bright clothes.
Stare at his tiny hands, his shoes.
Stare at his future that drowned with him.
Stare at the million ways he could have been saved.

Don’t look away.
Feel numb. Feel hollow. Feel anything.
But don’t look away.
Don’t close the window hastily because you can’t see such pictures.
Don’t look away because you won’t be able to sleep.
Don’t thank god that this wasn’t your child.

Imagine this was your child.
Imagine that was your country you were running away from.
Imagine you holding your family, praying for a better future.
Imagine you holding their dead bodies, staring at the ocean.
Imagine you wishing the earth to break in million tiny pieces.

Imagine you are the police officer who picked him up.
Imagine you looking at the boy when you turned him to pick him up.
Imagine the lightness of Aylan’s tiny body in your hands.
Imagine the heaviness of your heart.
Imagine you going to your home that night and stare at the mirror and wonder if God exists.

Don’t flinch.
Don’t flinch when you see a vulture waiting for an African boy to die.
Don’t flinch when you see a naked, terrified Vietnamese girl running on a street during a war.
Don’t flinch when you see the body of a dead, three year old on a beach.
This is our legacy. This is what we are leaving for our children.
These pictures.
The pictures that our children will judge us by.
If they live.

Hope.
Hope that our children grow up.
Hope that one day they will see these pictures.
Hope that that day, they will come home and look straight at us. Through us.
And flinch.
Hope, because that would mean the world will be a better place one day.
Hope, because that would mean our children won’t repeat our mistakes.

So, don’t flinch.
Stare at three year old Aylan.
Stare at him lying on a beach, his face half buried in the wet sand.

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