You are just a toddler and have never known what it is like to truly be a child. You cannot go outside to play, because your mother has warned you about the bad men that might shoot you or the dangers of the bombs that may explode close to you. You have never known what it is like to be free, what it is like to be safe.
And you don’t know any better. This is your life. You make the most of it. Sometimes you are afraid, but the sound of guns has become normal to you. It doesn’t keep you awake at night anymore.
One day your parents tell you that there is a different world out there. A world in which you can play outside, climb in trees or roll in the sand. A world in which you do not have to fear that your life will be taken just because you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. It sounds like a fantasyland to you, but your parents tell you it is real. They tell you that you can’t stay here any longer. That they have saved all their money to flee to the promised land. You trust them, because they know best. They tell you it is all going to be fine and that you have to be a big boy. You are a big boy.
Your mother dressed you in the morning and tells you that you are such a brave little boy. You go out before the sun has risen, to make sure nobody sees you leave. So you all risk your lives to travel through your war-torn country to another country and you end up at the coast. They put you in a plastic boat that is supposed to take you to the promised land. You look at your parents, a little unsure, but they smile and tell you it will all be fine.
But it won’t be. As the boat reaches the open sea, the tall waves turn it over and you have never learned how to swim. You scream, but the water fills your lungs. You cry, but it makes no difference. You look around but nobody can save you, because nobody knows how to swim. You are too young to keep your head above the water and you fall deeper and deeper as everything around you turns to black.
And you don’t know it, but your little body ends up in the promised land. But your soul is not in it anymore. As you lay there lifeless, a picture is taken. That picture shows the world the harsh reality of what is happening. It is a sign that it has all gone way too far. It has to be stopped. Something has to happen.
Yet in those great countries there are plenty of people who sit behind their computer screen and who do not know your pain. They have never felt your fear as they were raised in peace and wealth. These people are not heartbroken by the image of your dead body. These people do not have any empathy for all the lives lost. Instead, these people sit behind their laptops and type horrible things.
“It’s their own fault for wanting to find fortune here. Poor people my ass. They paid money to get on the boat. They must be rich.”
“Only one dead boy? I wish there were more.”
“I have nothing against refugees, but I disagree with them taking all our houses and they don’t have to pay for health insurance while the natives here do! The government does not care for its own people but poor refugees are sooooo important. Can’t they just stay away?”
And you will never hear these words. You never thought that there were people in the promised land who are so heartless. But that is the thing about the promised land. People are spoilt. People are incredibly selfish. People are afraid that a little boy and his family take away their wealth. They don’t know any better. They don’t know what it is like to truly have nothing and to truly live in fear.
Not everybody is like this. Luckily most people were heartbroken by your death and the deaths of so many others. But you have made a change. You have started a revolution.
Rest in peace, little one. May you climb trees and roll in the sand and find happiness in heaven now.