When Ben Quilty and Richard Flanagan saw a picture by six-year-old Heba, they knew they had to share it with the world
In 2016, with my friend Richard Flanagan, I stopped at a transit station halfway across Serbia. It was a clear day – blue sky from horizon to frozen horizon. Three dirty black buses rolled into the makeshift rest stop and 200 Syrian people climbed down off the big final bus step in need of food and a toilet break. Anywhere else in the world, a group of people like these would be smiling tourists on their way north or south, to the snow or the desert.
Richard and I had followed this river of Syria’s people and all of them were on a journey of escape, fleeing unimaginable horror, men in black clothes, murderous men, murderous civil war and the end of their homeland. And their destination was thousands of kilometres north in a direction none had ever imagined they would travel, to a future utterly unknown. Among them were doctors and firefighters, teachers, mechanics and university students.