Top 5 ignorant remarks by Richard Littlejohn on the death of Aylan Kurdi

More garbage from the Daily Mail's blowhard columnist


In the latest ‘yes it’s sad, but..’ column to emerge since the death of Aylan Kurdi, Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn assures us it’s nothing to do with us:

“Which brings us back to the child’s corpse on the beach in Turkey. I repeat, it’s awful. Heartbreaking. But it’s not our fault, and it’s not our responsibility, however compassionate we might feel.”

Littlejohn is keen to prove this lack of responsibility, but proves only his own ignorance.

Of many examples, here are the top 5:

1 . “Sorry, but while I accept that many are genuine asylum cases, most aren’t. What about those bouncing up and down outside Budapest station chanting ‘Germany, Germany’?”

At least half of the people risking their lives sailing across the Mediterranean are seeking asylum, according to Amnesty International.

EU figures show Syrians and Eritreans alone make up 46 per cent of those who reached Italy by boat last year. The numbers are likely to be the same for those now in Hungary.

Unless Littlejohn has information he’s keeping to himself, he’s wrong.

2 . “Just as at Calais, 99 per cent of them are young men, aged between 15 and 25. Where are all the women and girls? If you were truly fleeing tyranny and certain death, wouldn’t you bring your wives, sisters, mothers and daughters with you, instead of abandoning them to their fate?”

It clearly hasn’t occurred to Littlejohn that the people arriving in Europe might be the only surviving members of their families. At least 200,000 have died in the Syrian war, including many women and children.

The reason many of those who reach Europe are male, in other words, is the same reason that they are young – they are the ones who made it out alive.

It’s also possible families languishing in refugee camps in the Middle East have send their young men to secure a safe place for them to move to – and a safe means of travel – for the rest of the family. All these reflections must be beyond Littlejohn, who appears incapable of empathy (or research).

3. “But here’s what puzzles me. They’d been living in Turkey for the past year. So why didn’t he [Alan Kurdi’s father] apply for asylum there?

Syrian government policy under Bashar al-Assad denies citizenship rights to Kurds. Since they have no passports, Turkish law says they are not entitled to move freely in the country under its temporary protection measures for refugees.

They had either to register at a Turkish refugee camp or live outside of it as ‘irregulars’. They chose to apply for asylum in Canada, where they had relatives, but the application was refused.

4. “After all, surely culturally Syria has more in common with Turkey, another Muslim country, than with Tunbridge Wells or Trondheim.”

Not all ‘Muslim countries’ are alike, culturally or otherwise. He means: ‘Let them stay with their own kind where they will be happier’.

5. “We’re also told that he’s a Kurd. So why didn’t he move to Kurdistan? Who knows? And that’s just the point. No one knows anything for sure.”

Kurdistan is not recognised as a country by any international body. It is the historic homeland of Kurdish people, straddling the borders of Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran.

The Kurdish autonomous zone in northern Iraq, governed by the Kurdistan Regional Government and sometimes referred to as Kurdistan, is currently at war with ISIS terrorists, who are raping and killing Iraqi, Kurdish and Yazidi civilians, most famously in Sinjar.

Of the other countries, two are dictatorships (Iran and Syria), and three are at war, if you include the renewed fighting with Kurdish PKK guerillas in Turkey.

Perhaps this is why the Kurdi family might not have wanted or been able to ‘move to Kurdistan’.


No one knows anything for sure’. What’s ‘for sure’ is Richard Littlejohn doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But we knew that already.


If you’re sick of reading people like Littlejohn in the Mail, tell the paper to run a piece by a refugee. Sign our petition here.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

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Read more: 

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