Abdullah Kurdi is the only member of a family of four who escaped unscathed when a group of migrants at sea failed to make it to their desired destination and were left at the mercy of the driving waves. The tragic incident unfolded when a boat carrying his family and a number of Syrian refugees capsized off the Greek island of Kos.
Alef.ir on September 5 released a report on the human tragedy. The report includes comments by Abdullah Kurdi, the distraught father of two Syrian children who drowned with their mother and several other migrants as they tried to reach Greece. The shocking image of the lifeless body of Aylan, Abdullah’s three-year-old boy, made headlines around the world. The following is the translation of part of that report:
In remarks after the incident, Abdullah said, “When the boat foundered, I was overwhelmed by fear”.
Abdullah, who was too weak to speak loud enough to be heard, continued, “We all had life jackets on. With one hand, I was holding my wife’s hand and with the other the hands of my two sons. But at the spur of the moment, the kids’ hands slipped off my hand. We tried to reach the boat, but it capsized in an instant. No longer could I hear the voice of my wife and kids. […]
“I thought they may have had to return to Bodrum [in Turkey where their journey originated] out of fear. I went back to our meeting place, but I found no trace of them. Right there, I went to the city’s hospital and faced the home truth, the bitterest in my life.”
As many as 12 people who are said to be all Syrians lost their lives in the incident. Aylan, the three-year-old boy who grabbed the world headlines, his five-year-old brother Galip, and mother were among the victims. This toll should be added to the number of the victims of the recent migration crisis in Europe.
Abdullah, 40, further said that before this fateful voyage he had tried twice to flee Syria, adding that they failed to reach their destination. “Prior to this, I paid money to the traffickers twice to take us to the island of Kos. First we were stopped by the Turkish coast guard, but we were released a few hours later. The second time, the traffickers did not live up to their promise and did not provide us with a boat.”
Is Ottawa to blame for the death of Aylan?
Tima, Abdullah’s sister who migrated to Canada 20 years ago and now lives in Vancouver, told reporters, “I did what was needed for their immigration to Canada. A number of our friends and neighbors accepted to financially support my brother’s family. To our disbelief, officials turned down our request”.
Grief-stricken Abdullah, who was to bury his loved ones in the war-torn Syrian town of Kobani, desperately makes an appeal to the international community: “Make sure [Aylan] is the last.”