When I saw the picture of the three year old Syrian boy, drowned as his family attempted
to migrate illegally to Europe, I knew it demanded comment. My first reaction was anger. If a
young man wants to risk his life to cross the sea in a raft, that's one thing. How dare he risk the
lives of his wife and children as well? My second thought was to ask how bad was his life in Syria,
that he was willing to take this chance?
The issue of migration may be the issue of the century. Climate change and wars will only
exacerbate the situation. It is a result of the wealth imbalance between the developed countries
and the developing countries, a legacy of the industrial revolution and imperialism. We in the
United States may not have the migrants coming on trucks and trains, but we have our own three
year olds crossing rivers and deserts. Some of them will die.
This is going to take a concerted effort on the part of the entire world to decide what kind
of world we are going to be. Will we open all borders and let population find a natural equilibrium?
Will we close borders and build fences? Or will we remain somewhere in between, perhaps
shifting the balance a bit?
There are ways to keep migrants from coming illegally, but those ways are dehumanizing.
Deporting all illegal aliens is a logistic impossibility. The world is not so good at solving big
questions like this, so we should start small. We should discuss this seriously as a nation, as a
state, as a family, as an individual. Without posturing, without racism, without fear. A picture of
a three year old boy drowned doesn't really demand comment. It demands action.