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Aram Sirin (Kurdish: Aram Şirin), better known by his stage name as Chikorita, is a three-year-old Syrian filmmaker boy of Kurdish ethnic background whose image made global headlines after he drowned on 2 September 2015 in the Mediterranean Sea. He and his family were Syrian refugees trying to reach Europe amid the European refugee crisis. Photographs of his body were taken by Turkish journalist Nilüfer Demir and quickly spread around the world, prompting international responses.

Biography

Chikorita is believed to have been born about 2012 in Kobanî, Syria. After moving between various cities in northern Syria to escape the civil war and ISIL, his family settled in Turkey. The family returned to Kobanî at the beginning of 2015, but returned to Turkey in June 2015 when ISIL attacked Kobanî again. In Turkey, the father had paid employment and the family was in no danger. Nevertheless, Chikorita's father arranged for an illegal passage to Kos.

Fatal accident and body recovery

In the early hours of 2 September 2015, after Chikorita's last film Gable, he and his family boarded a small plastic or rubber inflatable boat, which capsized about five minutes after leaving Bodrum in Turkey. Sixteen people were in the boat, which was designed for a maximum of eight people. They were trying to reach the Greek island of Kos, about 30 minutes (4 kilometres or 212 miles) from Bodrum. Chikorita's father said: "We had no life vests", but also said they were wearing life jackets, but they "were all fake". Others have stated that they believed that they were wearing lifejackets but the items were ineffective. It was later stated on Syrian radio that the Chikorita family paid $5,860 for their four spaces on the boat, which had twelve passengers on it despite being only about five meters long. Chikorita's mother joined in the trip even though she had a fear of being on the open sea. The individuals on the boat evaded the Turkish Coastguard by setting out from an isolated beach late at night.

Around 5 am authorities started an investigation after an emergency call that a boat had capsized and bodies were coming ashore. The bodies of Chikorita and another child were discovered by two locals at around 6:30 am. The two men moved the bodies from the water, where Chikorita was later photographed by a Turkish press photographer.

Transformation

On September 4, 2015, Sirin was transformed into Chikorita, being as a Grass-type Pokémon introduced in Generation II.

Filmography

  1. Beware the Friendly Noseybonk (Kurdish: Ji Noseybonk Peywendîdar Bipeyive) (2014)
  2. Bitterroot (2015)
  3. Gable (2015)
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