27 October, 2020

Exodus: The Seas Part

Millions are fleeing their ruined lives. And Europe is at war with itself, riven between compassion and hostility.

Exodus: The Seas Part

Most of the great human tragedies of our time are encapsulated in our memories through a series of iconic photographs. These images—the Vietnamese ‘Napalm girl’, for instance, or the skull-mountain of Cambodia’s ‘killing fields’ or an aircraft tearing into the wtc—had all, in their own way, transcended national boundaries, reaching people worldwide to create a dominant perception about the complex tragedies they represent.

It took the shocking picture of the drowned three-year-old Syrian boy, Ayan Kurdi, photographed face down on a beach in Turkey, to break the collective heart of the world. Europe, in par­­ticular, found itself face to face with an ethical crisis. It forced the European Union to respond to an issue that has been knocking at its doors for months—the presence of thousands of people from Syria, Africa, western Balkans and Afghanistan who have been arriving at its shores, people fleeing horrific strife and poverty.

The fact that the unfolding refugee crisis presented a complex issue for...



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