Five years ago, in 2011, when the Syrian revolution had begun, the US administration led by President Barack Obama had asserted that ‘Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s days are numbered’. Hillary Clinton, then the US Secretary of State and now the Democratic Presidential nominee, had reiterated this ‘version’ in 2012. It had given the Syrian people, those opposing Assad and the Syrian rebels, hope then that the Arab Spring would soon see a successful rebellion in the country.

Five years down the line, Syria has become the worst humanitarian crisis since the days of the Second World War. The images coming from the country are horrible. They leave you choked, sometimes in tears. And some of them become the global rallying points – like last year, when images of a three year old dead Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi washed ashore on a Turkish coast while trying to cross the Mediterranean to get into Europe – or last week this year, when the images of a five year old Syrian boy, Omran Daqneesh, stained with blood and rubble – became the global expression of outrage.

These two images symbolize what Syrians are going through. They have nowhere to call home – not in Syria – not outside Syria. Omran Daqneesh’s image is from Aleppo, a Syrian town that is considered rebels’ stronghold. Alylan Kurdi was found dead on a European coast. The five years of the Syrian civil war has effectively obliterated the past, the present and the future of the millions of Syrians.


Image Courtesy: Reuters

When the Aylan Kurdi’s image had hit the world headlines in September 2015, some 13 million Syrians needed immediate humanitarian support. The figures from an Amnesty International report say that by September 2015, the Syrian civil war had left 220,000 dead, over 4 million refugees and 50 percent of its leftover population internally displaced (some 10 million).

From September 2015 to August 2016, the Syrian crisis has only gone from bad to worse. Now there are over 6.5 million Syrian refugees scattered in different countries. The civil war death toll now stands at around 500,000. If we draw a plausible line according to the figures available from the Syrian rebel factions and as per the increased hostilities aided by the Russian bombings, the internally displaced population now stands at around 12 million.

Yet the world community does nothing more than counting the Syrian dead while the number of victims is rapidly going up.

On one side, an emboldened dictator-cum-mercenary-cum-warlord-cum-butcher, after the Russian support, is slaying his countrymen in flocks, using even the chemical weapons. Then there are terror outfits like the Islamic State or the Al Qaeda affiliates or even the Syrian rebel factions. They have sandwiched the common Syrians – killing them, forcing them to live under siege or forcing them to flee the country – to a place where they don’t know if they will see the next dawn.

This ongoing horror has given us another event that once again raises questions on us being the members of a globalized world run by a globalized code with a unifying organization like the United Nations. Barring few, almost all countries are its members.

Events like Syria say the UN is failing; the world community is failing – because the Syrian crisis/civil war is now in its sixth year while the major police nations of the world, who invade an Afghanistan, an Iraq or a Libya, have let that happen. Afghanistan invasion could have been a spontaneous response to the 9/11 attacks in the US but the flimsy grounds on which the Iraq offensive had been launched has always been in questions. The latest British public inquiry report into the Iraq war, the Chilcot Report, which was submitted on July 6, 2016, states that Saddam Hussein didn’t pose imminent threat and that the war should have been averted.

In this globalized world, Syria has become the only war-torn/civil-war-hit country to see a decline in its population – with hundreds of thousands killed and millions displaced. According to reports, since the crisis began in 2011, Syria has seen some 11.5% decline in its population.

The never ending Syrian crisis has forced the biggest migration of people since the Second World War – a wave that the European countries are feeling too difficult a crisis to handle. Syrians are the biggest migrants group in Europe – those who have got asylum – those who are still waiting in the ‘nowhere’ zone – and those who lost their lives while trying to reach those elusive borders of the European continent.

The countless images coming out of Syria – of Omran Daqneesh, of Aylan Kurdi, of Syrians dying in chemical and explosive attacks, and of ghost towns with ravaged buildings – sum up the horror tens of thousands of human-beings are forced to live day in, day out, seeking the shore to fix their lives, a shore that is increasingly becoming elusive.

Yes, we live in a world that has always been plagued with ‘humanity killing developments’ like wars, crusades, religious wars, ethnic cleansings and the Holocaust, yet images like these, again and again, leave us thoughtless, speechless, soulless and lifeless. They say all. Their backdrop becomes hauntingly clear just by a mere look. Images like these make our lives beyond redemption. They put us all, the combined human masses of the world, in the dock over a crime that humanity can never get rid of. They rightly negate our claims of being the citizens of a civilized world.



‘Europe’s Fascination with Fences’ is an interesting title for an article on refugee crisis spilling over in Europe now. The article especially pulled my attention by its title, like of many others, when I saw it in the list of chosen articles on Magzter.

Irrespective of ‘what, why and how’ in the article, the world, yes the world now, is looking at the crisis in a different light after the image of the body of a Syrian toddler washed out on a beach in Turkey went viral. The boy was from a family of four from Syria trying to migrate to Europe through Greece – the second most popular route as the article says.

Barack Obama just declared that the US will accept 10,000 Syrian refugees this year. Germany is leading the access in Europe and the toddler’s image has forced countries so far reluctant like the United Kingdom to come forward. The day the image got out David Cameron said Britain would accept 20,000 more refugees.

Before it, Britain was in a state of ‘xenophobia’ on intensifying refugee crisis.

The image has drawn global attention and outrage over the way European countries have been handling the biggest refugee crisis since the World War II.

Because the world ‘rightly’ doesn’t expect anything of that sort from rich Arab and Middle-East monarchies.

People from the war torn countries of Middle-East and Africa are increasingly joining the way out to save their lives. Somehow escaping the guns in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Nigeria and other countries, people are heading to the countries in Europe or other nearby countries in ever increasing numbers as the war in Syria rages and as the Islamic State continues with its barbarity in Iraq and Syria – finding allies in Boko Haram in Nigeria or Al-Shabab in Somalia and so on.

It is true that there would be some economic migrants but the majority is from the lot displaced from their homes, localities, cities and countries and it is the responsibility of the humanity to open its doors for the them. After all, some one million (or even two million) cannot put strain on the wealthiest continent on Earth with around 750 million people.

They, in fact, can prove quite useful for the European countries which are facing crisis of manpower to serve their populace. Migrants (or refugees in this case), by the their ‘disconnectedness from the roots’ have noting more to lose and they, in fact, prove out to be industrious and better managed when given opportunities. Prosperous Jews are its most common example.

Fences may be a practical requirement to check illegal crossings but the European population and countries need to remove the fences that xenophobic sentiments can create/are creating in this humanitarian crisis. And as, the refugees, are responsibility of all of us, we all must reach out to them with helping hands – as the US has decided to do.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Image Courtesy: Reuters

Yes, this one is a photograph that ‘humanity’ or the human-beings left with the conscience of ‘being human’ would desperately wish would not be there – with the reason behind it.

Yes, this one is a photograph that left me in great dilemma before I decided to share it on my website – trying to find the one with a frame composition that would look less offensive to our identities but I can say I failed in doing so.

Photographs like this deafen our souls, incinerate our whole existences and devastate the whole civilizational journey of humanity – just with a mere look at them.

We live in a world that has always been plagued with ‘humanity killing developments’ like wars, crusades, religious wars, ethnic cleansings and the Holocaust, yet this image, once again, has left us thoughtless, speechless, soulless and lifeless.

The photograph says all. Its backdrop becomes hauntingly clear just by a look at it. The photograph makes our lives beyond redemption. It puts us all, the combined human masses of the world, in the dock over a crime, once again, that humanity can never get rid of.

It rightly negates our claims of being the citizens of a civilized world.

I faced extremely troubled moments while looking at this photograph. I had to make serious efforts with my soul to draw some courage to look at it. But I knew I had to look at it. In fact, all of us need to look at it, and other images that remind us of human depravity – that how debased we have become.

European leaders say the ongoing refugee crisis is threatening the ‘idea of Europe’ but can they deflect the questions that this photograph raises?

The photograph, or the different frames of it or the video of it, is so shocking and depressing that it takes the courage of a lifetime to compose yourself to look at it – and compose yourself again after you have looked at it.

I am sharing it here because it would remind me – again and again – that it spite of all our civilized claims, multitudes of us still reek of raw animal instincts – when it comes to treating people who are not from our family – from our locality – from our community – from our region – or from our country.

I am crying and I want to cry. It is not that humanity died its first death today – but the horror that this image forces us to face cannot be explained in words.

Yes, the world, unfortunately, has layers of refugee crisis problems – in North Korea, in Syria, in Iraq, in Libya, in Myanmar – in many other countries scattered across the different continents. People from these crisis hotbeds are forced to risk their lives to buy a safe life for their families.

The image sums up the horrifying situation tens of thousands of human-beings are forced to be in, seeking the shore to fix their lives, a shore that is increasingly becoming elusive.

Reports say ‘Turkish coastguards have rescued some 50000 people in Aegean Sea’, the asylum seekers in Europe, this year alone. Reports say ‘Europe is facing the biggest migrant crisis since the World War II’.

Here is an image of the three year old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi with his elder brother Ghalip shared by their aunt, Tima Kurdi, on her Facebook page. Tima is settled in Canada for long and Aylan’s family, too, was trying to move there. Aylan, Ghalip and their mother, a family from the strife-torn town Kobane in Syria, were among the 12 people who lost their lives while trying to migrate to Greece through sea-route. Later, Aylan Kurdi’s was found lifeless, lying face down, on a Turkish beach. Migrants arriving in Turkey from countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria and many others try to cross the Mediterranean to reach Greece that serves as the gateway for them to the European Union countries.

Image Courtesy: Tima Kurdi’s Facebook Page