The Arab Twitterati reacts to Syrian refugee crisis

The Arab Twitterati reacts to Syrian refugee crisis
3 min read
08 Sep, 2015
Blog: Social media has been a crucible of anger at governments' failures to aid Syrians displaced by war.
“The Arab response” by @Aimantoon
Arab social media has been mourning the recent death of the Syrian toddler, Aylan Kurdi, his four-year-old brother, Ghaleb, and their mother, Rihana, who drowned off the Turkish coast on Wednesday while trying to reach Europe across the Aegean Sea.

Many Arabic social media users called on Arab governments - the rich Gulf states in particular - to increase their support for the more than four million Syrian refugees in the Middle East and Europe.

At least 350,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean into Europe on flimsy boats this year alone, according to the International Organisation for Migration.


[Aylan] wasn't swallowed by the sea or eaten by fish, he was cast ashore so he could be proof of the extent of our sins and failure

- @fahad1290

"The picture [of Aylan] speaks for itself and needs no comment. To hell with their alleged sense of humanity," said Sharef Sarmada, a Syrian activist in northern Idlib.

"[Aylan] wasn't swallowed by the sea or eaten by fish, he was cast ashore so he could be proof of the extent of our sins and failure," said one Saudi Twitter user.

"The right thing to do is not take in Syrian refugees, instead it is to kick out Bashar al-Assad and bring them back to their homes. That is the noble thing that must be done," said another Saudi on Twitter.

"May God be with the children of Syria, who are caught between the barrel bombs and the sea," said Bahraini human rights activist Raeda al-Sabt.

"It's not only our governments who have let them down, we have also betrayed them. I haven't heard of a single Arab Islamic state holding any demonstrations calling for refugees to be let in," said Kuwaiti petroleum engineer Shafi al-Ajami.

On Monday, around 20,000 people took to the streets of Vienna, Austria, to demonstrate against ill-treatment of refugees after the bodies of 71 refugees were found in an abandoned truck.

"The sad thing is, eventually we will stop talking about [Aylan] like what we did with the Palestinian baby who was burned alive," said an Egyptian Twitter user, referring to 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh who was burned alive in July by Israeli settlers.

Aiman Yanallah, a Saudi cartoonist for al-Sharq newspaper, drew a political cartoon titled The Arab response - of an Arab re-tweeting the heartbreaking image of Aylan's lifeless body on the beach.

"God please forgive us for our failures to our Syrian brothers. Lord we are weeping in pain and our hearts are broken. Please God save them, keep them safe and be kind to them," said famed Saudi Quranic reciter Mohammad al-Mohisni.

"A whole people have been made homeless and a whole nation has been destroyed all because the son of a b**ch Bashar al-Assad wants to stay in power," said Saudi Saeed al-Naji.