In the midst of the humanitarian crisis in Syria, Australian singer-songwriter Missy Higgins released a moving song for refugee families. The tribute is titled Oh Canada.
Having written the song in response to the drowning of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, who washed up on Turkish shores last year, Missy Higgins penned the song from the perspective of Kurdi’s father.
Already denied entry into Canada, the Kurdi family had attempted to seek asylum in Greece.
The singer couldn’t help but be moved by the tragedy that faces many families, reminding her of her own son:
“The tiny child in that wrenching image could have been my own little boy,”
At the beginning of the Oh Canada music video, Aylan Kurdi appears to be an ordinary boy. By the end, his lifeless body is washed ashore.
In the video, cartoon depictions drawn by refugee children aim to express “their experiences, their fears and, in some instances, their hopes for the future”.
Look no further than the first verse of the song to uncover the direct reference to Aylan Kurdi and the controversy surrounding the image:
“He was carried from the water by a solider,
And the picture screams a thousand different words,
He was running from the terror with his father,
Who once believed that nothing could be worse.”
Speaking of the reference to Canada, Higgins explained that “amongst other countries, [Canada] represents Australia which has such an abhorrent record in dealing with people seeking asylum who try to travel to our shores by boat.”
On Facebook, the Australian wrote:
“If the song inspires anyone to do something on behalf of refugees – to speak up for their rights and to push back against those who seek to inflame our fears and prejudices – then I think that would be best of all.”
On top of raising much needed attention to an ongoing crisis, Missy Higgins is donating all of the profits from Oh Canada to the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre.
The ASRC is an Australian organisation that aims to uphold the human rights of refugees, through providing support and opportunities necessary for living independently. To find out more about the organisation, click here.
Watch Missy Higgin’s Oh Canada music video below:
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