I want to dedicate my first post to the little Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian kid that, two days ago, lost his life – together with his brother, his mother and many others – trying to reach, by sea, a better future – or simply, a future.
After various pictures of Aylan were published, a great deal of cartoonists drew heartbreaking cartoons trying to express the real message that this tragedy is delivering to us. I did my share – even if with more modest results.
Yet, why using the unnatural posture of a lifeless kid – the peculiar way in which a corpse lies like an object always deeply strikes us – to reflect on what is happening in Europe? I decided not to do so.
In fact, what was lying on that shore was all but an inanimate thing. It was a vibrant and unbearable demonstration of how poor and weak are our walls. It was a symbol. And our reactions, the (temporary) mobilization that is taking place now, are the representation of how difficult it is for us to stay certain that we, as Europeans, are the bearers of the greatest moral values while the reality of facts is proving exactly the contrary.
Hard times uncover our fragilities and demonstrate that it is not possible any more to keep an equilibrium between our fear of the different and incapacity to cope with a not so big migratory flux, and the stubborn belief in our liberal traditions – traditions that have never been really liberal, that bear a certain degree of relativity and should be repeatedly confronted with others.
For all these reasons I decided to represent Aylan as still alive in the act of destroying our several poor walls made of sand: our certainties regarding the European morality; our control over the migratory fluxes – this is something we contributed to cause and that will happen regardless of our strives; our capacity of detachment from a tragedy that happens every day, on our very shores; and, above all, our right to stop people to seek safety and a better future.
Still, let’s make no mistakes. Let’s fight the always present temptation – see the Charlie Hebdo’s shooting – to elevate something to the statute of a symbol to avoid facing the truth. Aylan is dead.