Missy Higgins’ latest single is dedicated to the victims of the Syrian refugee crisis, after she was overcome with emotion by the images of a young boy’s body washed up on a beach.
The Australian singer-songwriter has written the song ‘Oh Canada’ and dedicated it to the memory of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, who drowned along with his mother and brother on their way to Greece, via boat, to seek asylum.
Only his father, Abdullah survived.
“From where I sat in my comfortable living room nursing my newborn son, the tiny child in that wrenching image could have been my own little boy,” Higgins said in a statement.
“I felt overwhelmed by a profound protective instinct for him and people like him.”
The Kurdi family was initially trying to seek asylum in Canada, where Abdullah’s sister was living.
When they were denied entry, the family embarked on the dangerous journey to Greece via Turkey.
She decided to write ‘Oh Canada’ as a way to deal with her strong feelings and to make sense of the situation, she said.
While Canada is mentioned in the lyrics, she uses the country as a way to draw a light on the way other countries deal with refugees, including Australia.
“In this song, Canada represents anywhere in the world that might be the preferred sanctuary for people like the Kurdi’s,” she said.
“Amongst other countries, it represents Australia which has such an abhorrent record in dealing with people seeking asylum who try to travel to our shores by boat.”
The single, released on Friday, is accompanied by a powerful animated music video, directed by Natasha Pincus and animation director Nicholas Kallincos.
“‘Oh Canada’ simply aims to tell a story,” she said.
“It’s not preaching anything in particular, it’s simply my attempt to make sense out of senselessness.”