Wim Hoogland in his article ‘Twintig stukken over Aylan, twintig versies’
(de Telegraaf, 9 September 2015) is
particularly critical towards Aylan Kurdi’s father, Abdullah Kurdi. Through the
way he describes Aylan’s father, it becomes clear that he blames him for the
death of his own child by labelling him as irresponsible, combined with bad
luck. In addition, he states that his death could have been prevented like many
refugees that die during their dangerous journeys to Europe. Another journalist
for de Telegraaf also holds a similar
view, in his article called ‘Aylan
symbool van onmetelijke ellende’ Frank van Vliet blames the death of Aylan on
‘them’ (de Telegraaf, 4 September
2015). By ‘them’ he refers to the Middle East and particularly the Gulf States
for their neglect of the crisis for their fellow Arab nation Syria. He also
mentions that attacking the European Union for the death of Aylan is not right
because it is not ‘our’ responsibility. Van Vliet further reinforces this
perspective in his article, article ‘Omgeslagen’ (de Telegraaf, 8 September 2015)  (De Telegraaf, 8 September 2015)
where he also refers to Abdullah Kurdi as having made the wrong decision to
leave a moderately safe country like Turkey. Both journalists have used a clear
representation of refugees in this situation, which is ‘them’ as being
irresponsible and to blame for the tragedies that have been occurring during
the refugee crisis. In addition, by blaming the Middle Eastern nations, an
Orientalist discourse has been constructed by blaming the East for everything
but not the West.

‘Irresponsible’

 

As shown in chapter 3, de Telegraaf has published significantly fewer articles on Aylan
Kurdi. From the analysis of the articles which did refer to the little boy, it
became apparent that de Telegraaf did
not put the emphasis on the tragedy from a humanitarian perspective but rather
focused criticising the Kurdi family. As a result, the key findings were
refugees being represented as ‘irresponsible’, the inferior ‘Other’ and
‘terrorists’.

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