Islamic pop-folk performer Yusuf Islam, better known by his stage name Cat Stevens, has released a new charity single in what he calls an effort to “humanise the narrative” of the Europe migrant crisis.
The song and accompanying video — “He Was Alone #YouAreNotAlone” — is about a 12-year-old Syrian migrant, who is separated from a group after they are landed by a Turkish boat on what is presumably the shores of Europe.
The song will be performed at a special charity concert in London, reports Middle East Monitor.
Mr. Islam, who went by the stage-name Cat Stevens during the height of his career in the 1970’s and was known for such hits as ‘Tea for the Tillerman’ in 1970 and ‘Morning Has Broken’ in 1971, said of the song:
“It was difficult to stand by just watching this tragedy without trying to do something. I simply decided to help humanise the narrative and lend my voice to the call for keeping hearts and doors open to every refugee, especially youngsters, who have lost what future they might have once hoped for.
“The song is a small effort to try to take people’s attention away from the crime of reductionism, where human lives become numbers and statistics, and refocus on the plight of a single young soul who never had a chance to live and play in his own home.”
The image of children fleeing conflict has been central to pushing the narrative of Europe accepting illegal immigrants as they crossed from Turkey and North Africa to the continent.
A photograph of deceased three-year-old Aylan Kurdi was beamed around the world as an example of the plight of so-called “refugees”, despite Aylan and his family later being shown to have been settled safely in Turkey before deciding to migrate to Europe for economic reasons.
Breitbart London reported in December that the dissemination of the photograph marked a turning point in public attitudes towards the migrant crisis, as it gained the interest that other significant losses of life had failed to. Dr. Claire Wardle, research director at the Tow Centre for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, who analysed public reaction to the image, said:
“In April, over 700 refugees and migrants lost their lives when their boat capsized off Lampedusa. After one day of coverage, the story disappeared, despite the tragic loss of life.
“The photo of Aylan Kurdi galvanised the public in a way that hours of broadcasts and thousands of column inches wasn’t able to do. It has created a frame through which subsequent coverage has been positioned and compared.”
The overwhelming use of images of children by news editors to portray the migrant crisis stood at odds with the reality of the situation, which has seen a significant majority of migrants being adult males.