The Sea Cemetery

The Sea Cemetery The Sea Cemetery © Mohd Syafiq Sharani

30 June 2016
On 24 May 2016, the Turkish NGO
Support to Life launched a floating memorial to more than 4,000 Syrian refugees who are known to have lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean.

A short and powerful video introduces 'The Sea Cemetery' in which rows of 200 white styrofoam headstones made to look like polished marble float on the waves. The names of those whose lives have been cut short are engraved on each slab including that of Alan Kurdi whose tiny body found lying on the beach at Bodrum last September triggered a worldwide crisis of conscience.

“If only you could have seen my son,” says one stricken mother in the video. “He was so young. I can't get him out of my mind. Not having enough time with him grieves me deeply.”

Survivor Khaled Alkhamis explains, “I used to dream of watching the sea. I hate it now. I wish I had died under the bombs in Syria so I wouldn't have to face all these deaths.”

The Sea Cemetery is anchored just off the Turkish coast where so many have drowned. But its enduring legacy is as an online campaign to raise awareness and funds. “With The Sea Cemetery we want to support more refugees dreaming of an honourable life. The more people respond to our campaign, the less this sea cemetery will grow”. Specifically, through the campaign, Support to Life wants to expand their refugee protection programme and prevent any more refugees from risking their lives on unseaworthy vessels.

Support to Life has been delivering aid including food, stoves and housing to some almost three million Syrians now living in Turkey. Over and above sending  emergency relief, the charity also works to meet medium and long-term needs such as education, livelihood support and capacity building.


For more information about the project, visit:

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