A jolting warning: Death on the Rio Grande

A jolting warning: Death on the Rio Grande

In an era where inhumanity almost seems to reach a level beyond the dystopian fiction portrayed in the current TV series Years and Years, the images of dead children emerging along the Rio Grande provide a jolting warning that the world refugee crisis is coming ever closer to the portals of the west’s mature democracies.

The picture — originally published in Mexican newspaper La Jornada — recalls the photograph of a three-year-old Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, washed up on the shores of Turkey in 2015. When the Irish Examiner published that picture on its front page, one of the very few newspapers in the world

to decide to give such prominence to the image, some readers protested that it was a ghoulish intrusion into tragic death.

We explained our reasons at that time. But since then we have all become even further desensitised. There are many who blame the policies of the Trump government for what is happening on the Mexican frontier, but there are many, also, who believe that border security must remain paramount in the face of mass migration. This, alongside climate change, is the great challenge of the next three decades.

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