Danish Police Officer Shares Playful Moment With Syrian Refugee Child

“They both caught my eye because in all of this sad history, it reminded me that we mustn’t say no to the people and children fleeing from war.”

16/09/2015 3:33 PM AEST | Updated 18/09/2015 1:41 AM AEST

Amid countless heartbreaking images showing the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe -- of wailing children and desperate families hurling themselves onto overflowing trains, flimsy boats packed to the brim and a tiny body lying limp on a beach -- a touching photo showcasing a moment of unity and humanity has captured the hearts of onlookers all over the world.

The photograph, taken last week near the German-Danish border by photographer Claus Fisker, shows a Danish police officer playing a game with a young Syrian refugee.


Sharing the picture on Facebook over the weekend, Mohamed Diini, a popular motivational speaker from Somalia, wrote: “As of late, so much -- mainly pics -- hurtful to the eye has been coming out of the Syrian refugee crisis and their odyssey seeking normal lives away from home. This particular picture … [gives] the true meaning of humanity. Someone said it best, ‘a normal picture in an abnormal context.’”

According to BuzzFeed, Fisker had been photographing a group of about 300 refugees, most of them from Syria, when he captured the encounter between the officer and the girl. 

“It was quite a hot day,” Fisker said. “The policeman took his (or his colleague’s) wedding ring and played a game with the girl. He hid the ring in a hand and the girl was asked to guess which hand held the ring. They played together for a short while.”

The refugees had been walking along an expressway north of Padborg, Denmark, with the hope of getting to Sweden, the photographer said.

Sweden has, thus far, accepted the most refugees per capita among all European countries, The Washington Post reports. (Last year, the relatively small nation welcomed more than 30,000 refugees.) Denmark, in contrast, has taken a hard-line against migrants, and the country's residents appear to be deeply divided on the issue.

Although tens of thousands of Danes gathered in Copenhagen over the weekend, shouting “refugees are welcome” in front of the parliament building, the Danish government recently placed an ad in Lebanese newspapers telling asylum-seekers to not come to the Scandanavian country. And last week, a man was photographed spitting on Syrian refugees walking on the highway near Padborg.  

As the debate about Europe's refugee crisis roils on, Fisker said he hopes the playful encounter between the officer and the child will help to encourage more empathy towards migrants, particularly in Denmark. 

“It was a touching moment to witness,” Fisker told BuzzFeed. “They both caught my eye because in all of this sad history, it reminded me that we mustn’t say no to the people and children fleeing from war.”

Fisker said the officer in the photos insisted on remaining anonymous. However, he said he hoped the photos of the encounter would “tell the story on their own.”

Thousands have since shared the photographs on social media. It’s a “simple” act that brings a “smile & hope,” wrote a Twitter user from Cyprus this week.

“We still have hope in humanity,” said Facebook group Syrian news.

To find out how you can help migrants seeking refuge in Europe, click here.


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