The holiday season is a meaningful time for many, especially in light of current events. Those celebrating Christmas may find themselves surrounded by family, grateful for the peace in their lives. Sadly, the same serenity cannot be said for many. For that reason, Abdullah Kurdi has a powerful Syrian refugee Christmas message for the world.
Kurdi is the father of 3-year-old Alan, the Syrian refugee boy whose drowning death made international headlines after a photo was snapped of him by Turkish photojournalist Nilufer Demir. Kurdi's family was attempting to flee their war-torn home of Kobani, Syria. They made it as far as Bodrum, Turkey, reportedly boarded a smuggler's boat bound for Greece, and capsized soon after.
Since the tragic incident, Kurdi has been incredibly outspoken about his experiences as well as the entire Syrian refugee crisis, desperately calling for an end to illegal smuggling. Kurdi was tapped to deliver Channel 4's alternative Christmas message this year. For over two decades, the British network has issued a holiday greeting that stands in stark contrast to the Christmas message delivered by Queen Elizabeth II. At times, the video has been humorous and has previously featured the likes of The Simpsons' Marge Simpson. Channel 4's alternative Christmas message has also served as an important platform to shed light on pressing global issues, as with Edward Snowden's 2013 address.
The Syrian refugee crisis is sadly far from over, and Kurdi's message reflects its urgency. Delivered in Arabic, Kurdi details his hope that countries become more welcoming to refugees and that 2016 will mark the end of war in his home country. Kurdi said:
My message is I'd like the whole world to open its doors to Syrians. If a person shuts a door in someone's face, this is very difficult. When a door is opened they no longer feel humiliated. At this time of the year I would like to ask you to think about the pain of fathers, mothers and children who are seeking peace and security We ask just for a little bit of sympathy from you. I wish you a very Happy New year. Hopefully next year the war will end in Syria and peace will reign all over the world.
During the message, footage of families attempting to make similar harrowing journeys as Kurdi and his wife and children are shown. It's a powerful but brief video that families across the world will undoubtedly take to heart.