The New York Times reports: When Alan Kurdi’s tiny body washed up on a beach in Turkey, forcing the world to grasp the pain of Syria’s refugees, the 2-year-old boy was just one member of a family on the run, scattered by nearly five years of upheaval.
As a Turkish officer lifted the boy from the shallow waves at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, one of Alan’s teenage cousins was alone on a bus in Hungary, fleeing the fighting back home in Damascus.
An aunt was stuck in Istanbul, nursing a baby, as her son and daughter worked 18-hour shifts in a sweatshop so the family could eat. Dozens of other relatives — aunts, uncles and cousins — had fled the war in Syria or were making plans to flee.
And just weeks after Alan’s image shocked the world in September, another aunt prepared to do what she had promised herself to avoid: set sail with four of her children on the same perilous journey.
“We die together, or we live together and make a future,” her 15-year-old daughter said, concluding, as have hundreds of thousands of other Syrians, that there was no going back, and that the way to security led through great risk. [Continue reading…]