Sea Prayer inspired by refugee Alan Kurdi
Award-winning novelist Khaled Hosseini commemorates the second anniversary of the death of the three-year-old Kurdish refugee with an illustrated story animated in a virtual reality film. The night before a potentially fatal journey, a father reflects with his son on their life in Syria before the war – and on their unknown future.
On a moonlit beach, a father cradles his sleeping son as they wait for dawn to break and a boat to arrive. He speaks to his boy of the long summers of his childhood, recalling his grandfather's house in Syria, the stirring of olive trees in the breeze, the bleating of his grandmother's goat, the clanking of her cooking pots.
And he remembers, too, the bustling city of Homs with its crowded lanes, its mosque and grand souk, in the days before the sky spat bombs and they had to flee.
When the sun rises they and those around them will gather their possessions and embark on a perilous sea journey in search of a new home.
People continue to attempt this journey, many losing their lives in the process. Since Alan’s death, at least 8,500 refugees and migrants have died or gone missing trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
To commemorate the second anniversary of the death of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy who drowned while attempting to reach Greece in 2015, the author Khaled Hosseini, a UNHCR goodwill ambassador, has written Sea Prayer.
This imagined letter is written in the form of a monologue, delivered by a Kurdish father to the son lying asleep in his lap, on the eve of their sea crossing to Europe.
Khaled Hosseini is one of the most widely read and beloved authors.
His novels The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns and And the Mountains Echoed have sold over 55 million copies all over the world. Hosseini is a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the founder of The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a not-for-profit organization which provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. He was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and lives in northern California.