Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life…”
—”Seasons of Love” from Rent
Two months and ten days.
That’s the amount of time between the global outcry, “Let the Syrian Refugees In!” after the heartwrenching image of a small boy on a beach, to the current calls to “Keep the Syrian Refugees Out!”
How transient the sentiment, that the face of Syrians fleeing war has gone from the desperate families running across European fields, tripped by a sneering camera woman that we jeered, to some menacing phantom terrorist. (That passport? Faked. Will an account from The Paper of Record suffice for you?)
Two months and ten days after the limp body of a child made us feel that we could all, any of us, be the haggard and bereaved, many of us find the shocked and bloodied Parisians much more kin, and join in with a chorus of suspicion.
Two months and ten days after the poetry of Warsan Shire burst out in public view, speaking for the why of refugees—
no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well…”
(I will not quote further from her deeply moving poem. You can find it elsewhere online, but I do not have her permission to use it here, and so I will not simply take it. I hope that the site I linked has her permission and has offered her recompense.)
Two months and ten days. Aylan Kurdi, I’m sorry.