Gallenkuş’ journey began when he saw a photograph of Aylan Kurdi, a Syrian boy whose body washed onto Turkey’s shores. That image awakened our shared sense of humanity for a time, as do so many other photos of children. A photo is hard to ignore, especially one depicting the death of innocence.
But how will our ignorance die?
Gallenkuş’ collages reminds us daily that we forget or inure ourselves to our responsibility for what is happening to children world-wide. These collages speak to the heart and reignite our desire to do something to create the world we want for our own children, a world we did not inherit but still long for.
Decades ago, two Pulitzer-prize-winning photograph shook the world: one showed frightened children running after a napalm bomb hit their village in South Vietnam; another a vulture waiting for a malnourished child to die. And yet, we have forgotten these realities. Gallenkuş reminds us what has been forgotten still persists: an Iraqi prisoner of war tries to console his son; children still run from danger. We ignore such realities because we feel hopeless.
This year, give yourselves and your loved ones the gift of consciousness and a reminder that action is possible. Parallel Universes of Children is a book that compels us to remember, and to ask ourselves every day what we have done to safeguard children’s rights, both near home and across the globe.