We failed the drowned boy, now who else can we save?

schindler's list

I knew I shouldn’t have looked at it. I knew before I clicked on it that what I saw would stay with me forever. Make me sad. Make me cry. And it did.

I thought of the little girl in the red coat in the film Schindler’s List; the only colour in the startling black and white movie. This boy, in his red t-shirt, the only colour on the brown grey beach. Sleeping. Dead.

The tears came. Thinking about him and his mother. His father who may have pulled the red t-shirt on him that morning, or more likely days, before because they were, no doubt, homeless. They were trying to find a new home. And not only did they lose this little boy. They lost his brother too.

Lost to a watery grave, to the sea of desperation. ‘The migrant crisis’.’ ‘Syrian Refugees.’ Never did I feel so moved, so upset by the sight of this one iconic image. And I thought, well at least things will now change. Because they have to.

little boy

There have always been wars. Famines. Huge movements of people, dislodged, desperate to find safety, a life where a family can survive. Imagine the great movement of people after world war two. We don’t have to imagine the four million who left Irish shores in the mid-19th century for America and beyond. Hungry and without choice. They were our relatives. Our ancestors. We almost remember.

I’ve talked before about the great sadness that comes with having a child. An empathy and understanding of what it must be like to lose the thing that you love most in the world. A mother’s tears, for a boy she never met and couldn’t talk to if she did. But he’s gone now. It’s the rest we need to save.

It’s more images like this we need. To spark debate. To put pressure on our country’s leaders who do have the power to help. Yes, we need to shelter our own and ensure the children of our own country are safe and have a home. But, we have a duty to help those in the most need, who will climb aboard a shallow boat, who will risk their children’s lives because they simply have nowhere else to go.

It can be done. Regulations can be put in place. We can help who we want. Ignorance is not the answer.

Rest in peace little boy. Hopefully your life, will not be in vain.



Here are somethings that you can do. Thanks to Helen at the busy mamas for the below information.

  1. Sign the petition to ask the Irish Government to do more to help. Just click here.  For anyone in the UK you can sign a similiar petition here.
  2. There are numerous charities helping the refugees crossing the Mediterranean sea. Please, please donate even a few euro to Medecine Sans Frontieres, Amnesty International, or Trocaire.
  3. Alternatively, if you’d like to be part of a very worthy organised event the Irish Parenting Bloggers have organised a virtual coffee (or tea!) morning – check out and ‘like’ the Facebook Event page here  –  to help raise much needed funds for the Ireland Calais Refugee Solidarity Campaign. On Friday, September 11 just pour yourself a cuppa; go to http://www.irelandcalaisfund.ml/ and make a donation to the fund (we suggest €5 per person but please give what you can) and upload a screenshot of your donation plus a pic of yourself enjoying your cuppa to your Facebook page or other social media channels and tell your followers all about it.  Then just link to this event to encourage your friends and family to take part too.


December Girl is now available on Audio. Visit Amazon or Audible or click on the cover below to download.

December Girl audiobook

2 Comments on We failed the drowned boy, now who else can we save?

  1. Thank you for doing something to help – it’s more people like you we need. I still can’t even think about the photo without welling up. I think it comes with motherhood that images like this hit you harder. I’ve seen all sorts of comments about the refugee crisis, and it’s sad that more people I’ve never met want to do something to help than the Facebook friends I actually know in real life.
    Alana x

    • It’s such a controversial issue – people are showing their true colours and coming out with all sorts over the past few weeks of the media coverage. The Irish Parenting Bloggers group are great and we managed to raise thousands of euro on Friday just gone doing a virtual coffee morning. When people work together, things can happen. I will never forget that image, nor should we. It could have been any of our children, under the same circumstances. Thanks for your comment x

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