Letter to the Editor: Reader responds to Bolsavik Column on Syrian Refugees

Editors note: Voice of OC columnist Hao-Nhein Vu wrote about the memories evoked for Little Saigon residents by images of dead Syrian child refugees. Reader Paul Marsden of Garden Grove took issue with the column; here is his response.

Hao-Nhien Vu asserts that photos of the lifeless body of Aylan Kurdi “struck a chord” with Vietnamese-Americans because many “faced similar dangers” while fleeing Vietnam.


Now that the initial shock of the graphic imagery has worn off, reports about the role
that Aylan Kurdi’s father played in his death are beginning to surface. Two survivors
now claim that Abdullah Kurdi was one of the smugglers profiting from piling people
into an overcrowded boat. Abdullah Kurdi has claimed that their life vests were fake,
yet CNN has reported that his own sister in Canada sent him $5,000 for the trip and
instructed him to “make sure you buy a real life jacket and not a fake one.”

Was Abdullah Kurdi blinded by ambition? Their landlady in Turkey has stated that
she didn’t know why they left, saying that “they were having a good life here in Turkey.”
Abdullah Kurdi’s own wife, who died with his two sons, did not know how to swim and
was “scared of the water.”

Make no mistake, Abdullah Kurdi killed his family. To look at a dead child on a beach
and somehow identify with the motives and aspirations of the person entrusted with
that innocent life is nothing less than repulsive and despicable.

Vietnamese-Americans who escaped Vietnam with parents as foolish, irresponsible
and reckless as Abdullah Kurdi are, without question, more fortunate than they can
possibly imagine.

Paul Marsden
Garden Grove

Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue please contact Voice of OC Engagement Editor Julie Gallego at jgallego@voiceofoc.org.

  • gazoo

    Paul… Some will say you sound pretty ruff but you are 100 percent correct

  • billy strikero

    With former Cold-War nations fighting in Syria by proxy
    (like Vietnam war), the innocent Syrian refugees are the casualties in the
    midst and as result of the fighting.

    There may other “Abdullah Kurdi” types who risk the lives of
    the family out of greed, but do their actions represent the rest of the Syrian
    refugees? Do all the Syrian refugees deserve to be judged less

    It is so easy to judge others when one has a home, a job,
    and security. It is another to be driven out of that very well being for a
    disagreement between statesmen where the affected party had no involvement in the political riff and seeking refuge in another country and eking out an existence. Desperate people do desperate things.

    In essence, let’s lay down the judgment and be a bit more compassionate when it does not cost anything. Also until you walk in their shoes…

  • David Zenger

    I don’t get it.