It’s a picturesque day in southern Turkey; the sun shines down on a white beach as waves gently brush the shoreline. Lying on the sand is a figure, a small boy, who appears to be wearing blue shorts, a red t-shirt and a pair of brown strap on shoes. The boy is face down on the shore, motionless, dead.
Three-year-old Aylan Kurdi died not far off the coast of the Bodrum, a resort town. He was one of the 12 who lost their lives when two boats capsized while crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe carrying 23 people. This Syrian boy is one of 2,500 people who have lost their lives attempting to flee the war raging in their home country.
Further reports done by BBC news have outlined the increasing numbers of the Syrian Civil war casualties. As of Oct. over 250,000 Syrian civilians have been recorded dead over the past four and a half years, with another 11 million now facing homelessness after being forced to leave.
Students at Seattle University are starting to look for ways they can help. Several students pointed to the need for the institution to take steps to engage in the city-wide discussion.
“As a university, if we are so dedicated to promoting good things and justice, then being able to lend a hand and offer an education to others is a place to start,” junior Keegan Tasker said.
The civil war is not only Syria’s battle, but also involves numerous international actors. In the U.S., the Syrian conflict has affected a variety of places, including Seattle. King 5 news released an article explaining how on the weekend of Sept. 5, a group of individuals met at University of Washington to discuss ways to help Syrian refugees. They touched on the idea of sending money, but it appeared that a handful of people were looking to give the refugees a place of asylum in the city. Unfortunately, this idea would involve a process that could take years, leaving more time for causalities to increase and more refugees needing a home within Europe and other countries. With good intentions and a place to start, the group hoped to meet again sometime soon.
“I think that SU, as an institution, should offer scholarships, or even offer to educate Syrian refugees whose lives have been changed,” Tasker said.
Sam Morse and Mariela Diaz, both current sophomores, reciprocated similar thoughts, pointing to the possibilities of the
“Just because these refugees have to move countries doesn’t mean they have to pause their education,” Diaz said. “This could also be good for SU students. We could talk with them and get to know the issue from a first person perspective.”
Diaz said she hopes to see Seattle U take some sort of action in the coming months.
”[I want] to see SU do something along the lines of donating materials to refugees, or providing an option for students to donate if they choose to,” Diaz said.
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Alexa McConville is a Senior studying Strategic Communications. She loves dancing, theater and America!