NEWS

Alan Kurdi: International Media Note Canadian Connection To Tragic Story

09/03/2015 02:05 EDT | Updated 09/03/2016 05:59 EDT
WASHINGTON — As the world's media relayed images of a lifeless Syrian boy on a beach, many outlets on different continents noted the Canadian connection to the tragic story.

A headline across Italy's La Repubblica website quoted Alan Kurdi's father: "I don't want asylum in Canada anymore — I'll take my son back to Kobane."

And a Canadian election campaign that days earlier seemed immersed in the far-less-internationally-compelling debate over Mike Duffy's expenses was suddenly tied to the most important story in the world.

UK's Independent newspaper ran a headline on a breaking development from the federal election trail: "Canadian immigration minister suspends election campaign to investigate why Syrian family's refugee application was refused."

It was a similar headline in Algeria's El Watan newspaper: "Canada refused asylum to the family of little Alan Kurdi."

Most of these stories were sidebars to the bigger-picture challenge of the world's worst refugee crisis since the Second World War, as illustrated by French news sites which mainly focused on President Francois Hollande and German chancellor Angela Merkel demanding that other European countries do more.

Even on the Independent website, above the headline about Chris Alexander leaving the campaign trail, the main story Thursday evening was illustrated by pictures of people holding up signs demanding that Prime Minister David Cameron welcome more refugees.

It was also the main story in most U.S. media.

The top item on the New York Times website was the intra-European spat over how to handle the crisis, with Hungary's prime minister describing it as a German problem and urging other EU countries to tell migrants they're not welcome.

The No. 2 story in the Times: "Family of Drowned Syrian Boys Sought to Reach Canada."

The story and its Canadian connection received similar treatment in USA Today, Time magazine's website and the New York Daily News.

The crisis was the top story on the hourly newscast of the U.S.'s National Public Radio. Fox News ran a segment on the heartbreaking image, asking whether Europe should take in more migrants and inviting Iran-Contra scandal actor Oliver North on to blame President Barack Obama for the crisis.

Obama's failure to take out Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad early on led to a protracted war that helped build ISIS and the refugee crisis, North said.

Clarification: Tima Kurdi, the aunt of the two drowned Syrian boys who died off Turkey on Wednesday, says the Turkish government erroneously changed the spelling of their names, which are actually Alan Kurdi, and his older brother, Galib Kurdi.

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