The Boy Who Lived: How Canadian Newspapers Used the Image of the Death of Aylan Kurdi

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Knox, Mira




On September 2nd 2015, a photograph was taken of the lifeless body of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi. In the following days, Aylan’s image was widely internationally circulated. In Canadian newspapers this image appeared alongside articles discussing the image as objective proof of the unavoidably violent and horrific conditions suffered by refugees who depart fleeing the War in Syria and the supposedly glorious arrival conditions awaiting refugees in Canada. Aylan’s image extends his presence and was used by Canadian newspapers to perpetuate western imperialist ideations about the role of the west in the War in Syria. These interpretations of the departure and arrival conditions of Syrian refugees eclipse all other information regarding the departure of refugees from Syria or the arrival of refugees in Canada and this thesis first committed to the critical scrutiny of these unquestioned interpretations and second to the presentation of alternative interpretations of the War in Syria.


Ethnic and Racial Studies




Carleton University

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