THERE ARE IMAGES that jar us from complacency. Nick Ut?s harrowing shot of a naked and badly burned Vietnamese girl running from an aerial napalm attack in 1972. Kevin Carter?s equally chilling photo of a Sudanese girl, withered away to skin and bones, being stalked by a vulture during the darkest days of the Sudanese famine in 1993. Now, the image of Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian refugee whose tiny body was photographed lying face down and lifeless on a beach in Turkey, is seared into our brains.
These photos?the you-know-it-when-you-see-it kind?become tragic icons and political flashpoints. They rightly inspire international outrage from the public and heartfelt condemnations of the governments and international aid organizations that refuse to do anything about it. But back in 1972 and even 1993, encouraging these massive bureaucracies to take action was about as much as ordinary people living half a world away could do. Concerned citizens who wanted to reach out directly to help these victims had far fewer options back when the Internet as we know it didn?t exist.
To put it in tech industry parlance, aid has gone peer-to-peer.
Now, no matter where they live in the world, what resources they have at their disposal, or what level of understanding they have of the issues, billions of people can go online to donate directly to a family in need, organize a caravan of strangers to drive Syrian refugees across borders, or join Refugees Welcome, an ?Airbnb for refugees,? and offer Syrian families a place to stay.
Read more at?WIRED