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Two Months Ago, This Photo Pushed The World To Act In The Refugee Crisis

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 16/11/2015 Ryan Grenoble
ATHENA IMAGE © Credit: DHA/Associated Press ATHENA IMAGE

Note: This article contains images that will be upsetting to some readers.

We're less than four days out from the devastating terrorist attacks in Paris, and the reaction from world leaders has been swift, vengeful and -- in the case of refugees -- merciless.

Xenophobic politicians in the U.S., eager to appear tough on terror, have clamped down on immigrants -- who are themselves victims of the same extremism we're fighting.

Several Republican governors announced they would attempt to block Syrian refugees from immigrating to their states, joining a chorus of European politicians who have also used the attacks to push for tighter border controls.

It's a sea change from the sentiment two months ago, when the lifeless body of a drowned Syrian toddler washed up on a beach in Turkey, an all-too-real sign of the devastating human cost of the crisis. 

It seems some have forgotten the proclamations made in the wake of the death of the boy, later identified as Aylan Kurdi, age 3.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he'd been "deeply moved" by the photos and pledged the country would step up to meet its "moral responsibilities," both in accepting "thousands" of refugees, and in seeking a long-term solution. 

The boy's death prompted French Prime Minister Manuel Valls to call for "urgent action" and "a Europe-wide mobilization," while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked Europe "to be more sensitive in the face of human dramas."

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny added, in a transcript provided by the Washington Post:

Is there anybody on the planet who could not be moved by what they saw in the papers -- anybody with a sense of humanity -- who saw the body of a young boy washed up on a beach like driftwood. This is a human catastrophe.

Aylan's 4-year-old brother, Galip, and mother, Rehen, also drowned in their pursuit of freedom, leaving the family's father, Abdullah, to bury them alone.

"I don't want anything else from this world," Abdullah Kurdi said at the funeral in September. "Everything I was dreaming of is gone. I want to bury my children and sit beside them until I die."

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