Opinion: An image that touches us all | Opinion | DW | 03.09.2015

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Opinion: An image that touches us all

The Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi - drowned on the crossing to Europe. Can you show the image of a dead child lying on the beach? Do you have to? On the decision of DW Editor-in-chief Alexander Kudascheff.

This picture is a terrible image. It shows us the terror of a futile, fatal escape from war-torn Syria. It is a snapshot of what is happening daily in the Mediterranean Sea.

But this picture also captures the horror of that terrible civil war. It is an image that stirs. It is an image that numbs one with painful empathy. It is an image that makes you feel impotent. It is an image that makes you think. And silences us all. It is an image that we all feel – it's the picture of the year, maybe even of the decade. It stands for everything that has moved us, touched us, made us angry and outraged in recent months. And it is a terrible picture.

Good reasons not to publish

Alexander Kudascheff DW Chefredakteur Kommentar Bild

DW Editor-in-chief Alexander Kudascheff

Should, can, must one show it? Must we, Deutsche Welle, show it? There are convincing reasons not to, ones worth considering. Reasons of respect to the dignity of the child and legitimate reluctance from us, the media.

We have decided to show it. Not for sensationalism, not to get more clicks on our page, not to increase our reach on television. We are showing it because it touches us all. We are showing it, because it is a symbol of the tragedy of the refugee crisis: An innocent child's parents were forced to take him on the dangerous journey towards a better future, a journey that ended fatally in the sea.

An image that shakes to the core

We are showing it because it shook us and because, at the conference of an editorial staff, we were left pensive and mute by it. Touched by the suffering and death. We are showing it because we have been moved by this suffering and, in the hustle and bustle of our everyday work as journalists, have been paralyzed by it. By this image.

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