Daily BulletinDaily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by Daily Bulletin
imagesyrian boy sand sculpture

For many of us the image of the little Syrian boy lying face down on a beach evoked almost unbearable pathos. Even the media, so used to revelling in misery and gore while affecting a tone of gravitas, seemed shocked. Journalists and newsreaders too could not help but think of their own child or grandchild lying there.

It takes an act of resolve to make oneself look unflinchingly at the picture of the lifeless three-year old, Aylan, his face still in the water, without finding some way to falsify the sheer tragedy of it.

Some immediately sought to turn disempowering pathos into manageable self-righteousness by finding someone to blame. Certain politicians congratulated themselves because “it could not happen here”. Other people tried to find holes in the father’s story as if framing the fact of Aylan’s drowning differently could wipe away the anguish.

These strategies seem to make those who resort to them feel better; yet none can change the one incontrovertible fact. Whatever the circumstances, and no matter who may have been to blame, the little boy was entirely innocent. Yet he suffered the terror of drowning before his body drifted alone across the seas, washing up on a foreign shore.

Feeling helpless and seeking to assuage the pain, many simply shifted their attention to something else. Who has not done that? Others decided to act by donating money or pressuring their governments to take more refugees. If they could do nothing for Aylan they could at least try to prevent it happening again.

Yet we are left with the most troubling question: How do we account for a tragedy like this, with all of its primal sadness, within our understanding of the world? How do we reconcile ourselves to it?

I am speaking not of how we understand the conflict in the Middle East nor of our attitudes towards those fleeing danger, but of how we explain arbitrary suffering within our conception of the human condition.

Is the world a vale of tears? Could Aylan’s death be an instance of ‘divine sadism’? Or is the world a benevolent place even if it is marked at times by inexplicable tragedy and random suffering?

For some the world always has been and always will be one of conflict and sorrow, so that the do-gooders will never be able to resist the tide of tragedy. For such cynics there is nothing to do except protect one’s own position.

This kind of cynicism may be a psychological defence to suppress the upwelling of a compassion with nowhere to go, but for some it is a genuinely held view of life and the world. Evil is simply part of the natural order, of the human condition, and it is pointless to agonize over its origins and meaning.

And yet we come back to the image of a little boy lying dead on the sand. One need not be a cynic to come to the view that there is no ultimate answer to the question of why he died. It is simply a fact, there in front of us, with its awful melancholy, a picture to remind us – the privileged – of the fragility and vulnerability of human life.

Authors: Daily Bulletin

Read more http://theconversation.com/the-boy-who-drowned-47376

'The essential is invisible to the eye': the wisdom of The Little Prince in lockdown

arrow_forward

As 'lockdown fatigue' sets in, the toll on mental health will require an urgent response

arrow_forward

That'll do, pig, that'll do: Babe at 25, a trailblazing cinematic classic

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Prime Minister National Cabinet Statement

The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response, the Victoria outbreak, easing restrictions, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment an...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Tracy Grimshaw

TRACY GRIMSHAW: Prime Minister, thank you for your time.    PRIME MINISTER: Great to be here. Thank you for the opportunity.    GRIMSHAW: A month or so ago, you probably thought that today's...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Reinventing The Outside Of Your Office

Efficient work is a priority in most offices. You need a comfortable interior that is functional too. The exterior also affects morale. Big companies have an amazing exterior like university ca...

News Company - avatar News Company

Kaspersky and Ferrari partnership: tailoring cybersecurity for an iconic brand

Kaspersky is commemorating the 10 year anniversary of its strategic partnership with iconic, global brand - Ferrari. The cybersecurity company is a sponsor of the brand’s Formula One racing team...

News Company - avatar News Company

Instant Steel Solutions Review

Are you keen on having the right guidance, knowledge and information about the right kind of steel purchases for your industries? If yes, then you are in the right place. There is no doubt that ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer



News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion