The body of Ayan Kurdi, the three-year old boy whose body washed up on a Turkish beach, is buried in Kobani, Syria. (Photo: © Reuters)
The photo of three-year old Aylan Kurdi's dead body lying on a Turkish beach is seared on the hearts and minds of the world. There is nothing more tragic than children becoming victims of a massive refugee crisis.
It reminds us never to take our secure lifestyles for granted. It also brings home the fact that we are looking at a global humanitarian crisis.
It's easy to put blame on the West for everything that happens in the Middle East – this has become the norm. In Canada Aylan Kurdi's death is being used a political ploy for upcoming elections and personal agendas.
Meantime International leaders like Erdogan and Putin are using it as a tool to bash “the West” which is a way of deflecting from their own responsibilities.
This is not the first global humanitarian crisis we are facing. In my lifetime at least there have been many.
- In 1971West Pakistan began a military crackdown on what was then called East Pakistan to suppress the Bengalis calls for self-determination. During the war for Bangladesh's independence, members of the Pakistani military and supporting militias killed approximately 3,000,000 people and raped between 200,000 to 400,000 Bangladeshi women in a systematic campaign. To date no one has blamed the Pakistan army or brought them to trial. Refugees from that massacre (the Beharis) have not been settled till today. The world was silent.
- From April to July 1994, members of the Hutu ethnic majority in the east-central African nation of Rwanda murdered as many as 800,000 people, mostly of the Tutsi minority. The world was silent because this was Africa – not the politically charged Middle East.
- It is estimated that Saddam Hussein murdered as many as a million of his people (mainly Shias) - many with poison gas. He tortured, maimed and imprisoned countless more. The world was silent.
But who's directly to blame for the Syrian crisis that made the Kurdi family flee for their lives along with thousands of others? Lets put the blame where it belongs.
When the Syrian Revolution started, President Bashar al-Assad unleashed his military forces in violent crackdowns that forced 3.2 million people to flee the country and internally displaced 6.5 million others. Assad ordered chemical weapon attacks on his own people while the world watched.
Assad undoubtedly is a mass murderer bolstered by the Iranian Regime (which ironically is being handsomely rewarded for their own human rights abuses and for assisting murderous thugs.) These two entities are directly responsible not only for the death of Aylan Kurdi but thousands of others.
Why is the world not accusing them instead of pointing their fingers at Canada? And what is the UN doing about the global humanitarian crisis caused by Assad supported by the Iranian Regime that makes a mockery of human rights?
With regards to the Islamic State (ISIS), who is also creating a massive refugee crisis, Canadian Liberal leader Justin Trudeau suggested that victims of the terror organization just need warm cocoa and woolen toques (knitted hats), while Mr. Mulcair of the NDP said “this is simply not Canada’s war to fight.”
It’s abundantly clear that while Mr. Mulcair may not wish to engage with the Islamic State, they will make it a point to engage with him.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE and Qatar who have taken in no refugees, are some of the countries that need to take a deep hard look at the roles they have played in creating a global crisis and how little they have done to absorb their fellow-Arabs.
We know who the real perpetrators are. We know they are implicit in the murder of Aylan Kurdi.
Let the world wake up and instead of playing a blame-game, bring the real culprits to justice.
Raheel Raza is an award-winning author, journalist, and filmmaker on the topics of jihad and sharia. She is president of The Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, and an activist for human rights, gender equality, and diversity. She is one of nine women's rights activists who took part in Clarion Project's film "Honor Diaries" which breaks the silence on honor violence against women.
Ayatollah Boroujerdi before his imprisonment and in his cell.
Editor's note: The following is a letter written from prison from Ayatollah Hossein-Kazamani Boroujerdi, who was a senior (Shiite) member of the clergy in Iran.
Boroujerdi is currently in the ninth year of an 11-year sentence for advocating for the "radical" position of separation of state and religion in Iran as well as speaking against Islamism and the country's leaders.
He has been held in solitary confinement, malnurished, tortured, beaten and exposed to chemical agents. His wife has been raped in fron of other family members. He now suffers permanent neurological damage and medical help has been denied to him.
The following is his letter written to his attorney's:
To the Attention of my Dear Representatives and Wonderful Attorneys
With greetings and respect and wishes of increasing success,
As you are aware, I have been at the service of religion, minus politics, since twenty years now, at the beginning of which, due to my independent religious thoughts and opinions, I was imprisoned at the secret prison of Towhid, which is located next to the central post office, and was tortured with hideous devices, destined for a physical and mental breakdown; and fourteen years before that, following a non-political monotheistic publication, I was also imprisoned for a few months in ward 209 of the Ministry of Intelligence, and was subjected to harassment and persecution. Also, during these nine years, as a defender of human rights, I have experienced all kinds of torment to the point that I have lost all of my health, and have no hope to continue my life – my legs are becoming paralyzed, my eyes are becoming blind, my lungs are in danger of failing, my heart is on a path to a heart attack, and my brain is bringing me closer to death. Nine years - every second of which has been accompanied by a mountain of excruciating pressures.
It is a pity that despite my fame and my out-spread insights and diversity of thought, no doctor from international institutions, or an attorney from legal and judicial organizations have yet came to visit me. I sometimes think that if in my place, an animal was subjected to the brutality of the Islamic regime in Iran, the animal protection organizations would have cried out a thousand times. But alas! Defending a religious leader who does not wish to sell himself to the rulers of the brutal regime in Iran is ignored and no effective and appropriate action is taken for him.
Since two decades my family have been distressed and upset – my children are deprived from continuing their education and suffer from lack of livelihood. Ten years ago, before the aggression of the rulers of the regime started against me, I had a unique private library that contained antique books and rare to find manuscripts, which during those days were evaluated to be worth ten billion toomans; and one of the directors of the Astan Quds Razavi (charitable foundation in Mashhad) had announced his interest in buying them and had started negotiations in view of transferring them to the relative library, which coincided with the regime’s reaction and as a result was plundered by the security forces.
Now that the subject of the human rights in our country has turned into a new and serious chapter for the United Nations, and has become the first subject of interest for the Security Council observers after the end of nuclear negotiations, please follow up on my pending case in an open and suitable manner, and please do not delay, as my slogans are directed towards saving the Middle East, and my divine insight for reviewing the basis or the infrastructure of the Quran, which will be a means of putting a damper on the terrorist actions of extremist Islamists. This oppressed, alienated and helpless prisoner is expecting credit, economic and media assistance from all protectors of Justice and the heralds and preachers of peace and those advocating freedom of speech and expression.
This humble servant of religion and humanity shakes the hands of all my supporters, friends and companions and those in agreement with my humanitarian line of thought, and in this regard I bow and prostrate in front of them. I hope that the vital issue of freedom, in all its aspects, will be brought to the attention of Iranians residing abroad, and our nostalgic compatriots may understand my daily life, and will not forget this victim of political Islam, and in turn will become the echo of my cries.
Seyed Hossein Kazemeini Boroujerdi
Iran- Tehran- Evin Prison
Clarion has interviewed Taybeh Hosseini, President of the Boroujerdi Civil Rights Group, who graciously allowed us to publish the letter. Read the interview here to learn more about this organization and its work.