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Tuesday 6 June 2023 Dublin: 11°C
# One Year On
"The picture did not change much" - father of drowned migrant toddler Aylan Kurdi speaks out
It’s one year today since a photo of Aylan’s lifeless body on a Turkish beach shocked the world.

aylan Tima Kurdi / AP Aylan and Galip Kurdi Tima Kurdi / AP / AP

THE FATHER OF Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian refugee boy whose body washed ashore on a Turkish beach one year ago today, has denounced the world’s failure to stop the bloodshed in his home country.

“The politicians said after the deaths in my family: Never again!” bereaved father Abdullah Kurdi, 41, told Germany’s Bild daily.

Everyone claimed they wanted to do something because of the photo that touched them so much. But what is happening now? People are still dying and nobody is doing anything about it.

Kurdi speaks on the anniversary of the tragedy in the Mediterranean, in which he also lost his wife Rehab, 35, and their other son, five-year-old Galip.

aylan2 AP AP

The haunting picture of the toddler’s lifeless body went viral as one of the most searing images of the migrant crisis.

Kurdi, who hails from Syria’s Kurdish community, told Bild that it was right for the photo of his son to be published worldwide.

“These things must be shown to make clear to people what is happening,” he said.

But in the end the picture did not change much. The horror in Syria must finally stop.

Kurdi now lives alone in an apartment in Arbil in Iraq’s Kurdish north, in a compound guarded by the local authorities’ peshmerga forces.

He has kept his late son’s stuffed toys in a cabinet in the living room. Chainsmoking throughout the interview, Abdullah broke into tears as he recalled the tragedy.

“Now I’m probably safer than I’ve ever been in my life,” he said. “But for what?”


Three months after the deaths of Aylan, Galip, and Rehab, Abdullah’s brother Mohammed, his wife, and their five children arrived safely in Canada, also as refugees from Syria.

They were sponsored by Abdullah’s sister Tima, whom he and his family had originally hoped to reach by crossing the ocean to Greece from Turkey.

“All of us here wish you were here with us,” Tima said at the time when asked by reporters if she had a message for him.

With AP

© – AFP, 2016

Read: Police officer who carried drowned Syrian boy speaks of ‘indescribable pain’

Read: Smugglers jailed for four years after death of Syrian toddler on beach

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