Where Is The Outrage Now???

27 March 2016 – A bomb blast Sunday in a park in the Pakistani city of Lahore killed at least 71, injuring more than 340, mostly women and children.  While it is said that the attack targeted Christians, the victims were overwhelmingly Muslims.

22 March 2016 – Bombs packed with nails terrorized Brussels on Tuesday in the deadliest assault on the European heartland since the Daesh attacks on Paris four months prior, hitting the airport and subway system in coordinated strikes, killing 35 and injuring over 300.

Two horrific terrorist attacks killing and injuring far too many, mostly civilians.  Both were perpetrated by terrorist organizations, one by Daesh and one by a Taliban offshoot called Jamaat-e-Ahrar.  Similar terrorist attacks, yet with some major differences:

  • The Brussels attack was major news on every network within minutes; the Pakistan attack was not reported in the U.S. until several hours had passed
  • Monuments across the west lit up with the colours of the Belgian flag, but not a single western capital lit up with the colours of Pakistan.
  • Immediately following the Brussels attacks, there was an outpouring of sympathy from the western world. Following the Pakistan attack, only Canadian leader Justin Trudeau, French President Francois Hollande and the Russian Foreign Ministry passed on sympathies along with US presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, but most world leaders said little.
  • The main difference, I suspect, is that Brussels is in Europe, a part of the western world, whereas Pakistan is in the Middle East.

April 2015 – Kenya was rocked with a terror attack at Garissa  University that left 148 people dead. Of those, 142 were students. Where was the outrage?  Where was the outpouring of grief and commiseration?  I am ashamed to say that I do not even remember hearing about this attack until I read it on the 1st anniversary of the attack (read memory of fellow blogger StuckInPerpetualSoliloquy here. )

November 2015 – The day before the terrorist attacks in Paris, a pair of suicide bombers struck southern Beirut on Thursday, killing 43 people and leaving shattered glass and blood on the streets. At least 239 others were wounded.  We all remember Paris, but does anybody remember Lebanon?

I could cite numerous other examples, as terrorist attacks are nothing new in the non-western world.  Relatively, terrorism is a rarity in the western world – Europe and the Americas.  However, listening to the western media, one would think that Daesh is the only terrorist organization and that the west is the only target.  Quite simply, the reverse is true.  Boko Haram is actually responsible for a larger number of deaths than Daesh, but since they are based in West Africa and operate primarily on the African continent, we never hear about them.  The Taliban, Hezbollah, Al-Shaabab … all rank in the top 10 most lethal terrorist organizations.  But we in the west are not told that.  We are told only that we must fear Daesh (“ISIS” or “ISIL”).  Terrorist attacks like the ones in Kenya, Pakistan, and Lebanon are far more frequent occurrences than those in Europe or the U.S., but we are not told that.  WHY????

Remember the attack on the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January 2015?  11 people were killed and another 11 injured.  Mainstream media brought us up-to-minute coverage for days.  Social media was jammed with outpourings of support and sympathy.  Yet, the number of victims was considerably smaller than, say, the attacks in Kenya, that we barely heard a peep about. Ah, but France is in Europe, part of the western world …

We in the western world are arrogant.  Perhaps it is the fault of the media that we have come to believe we are all important and that nations in the Middle East or the African continent simply do not matter.  Perhaps we would care if we were told, if the western media thought it was important enough to bring to our attention.  Or perhaps not.  There was a time I would have said that my fellow countrymen would be as distraught, as sad, as horrified over an attack in Kenya, Pakistan or Afghanistan as one in New York or Chicago.  I am not so sure now.  In the past decade, we seem to have been robbed of our humanity, of our compassion for others.  Compassion is being replaced by bigotry, humanity by greed.  Or apathy.  Perhaps we have heard of so many attacks in the Middle East that we have become inured to them, we simply shrug our shoulders and think that “it took place over there, and those things happen over there.”  Is the value of a human life any less because it is a Pakistani life or a Kenyan life or a Syrian life?  Is the value of a Muslim life any less than a Christian life?  I think not.

In my research for this article, I came across a comment on one of the news stories about the Pakistan attacks: “if world has to get some piece some countries has to be wiped out from world map. Pak, Afkhan, Turkey, Iraque, Albania, Bosnia, Saudi, and some Russian territories where Muslims are majority like Chech, Dage, Circassia, Bashkr,azarbaijn, Tartaristn .”  Sickening, disgusting, and utterly inhumane.  Is this the result of the hate speeches we hear almost daily by the bigots in our midst?

Even today, as I stroll through my Facebook timeline, kicking the garbage out of my way as I go, I see references to both the Paris and Belgium attacks, but nothing about Pakistan.  Human nature is such that we will likely always be more attuned to what happens in our own backyard than halfway around the globe.  Nevertheless, we should not simply shrug our shoulders and say “well, those things happen over there”, or  “thank God it wasn’t here”.  Other nations sometimes view the U.S. as arrogant, and they are not wrong.  But I wonder if we are arrogant because we have been spoiled by living in a nation that has been exposed to so little adversity, or if we are arrogant because we are sheltered by our own media, fed by the politicians only what they want us to know, allowed to believe that only we matter?  Think about it.

pak-brus flags

21 thoughts on “Where Is The Outrage Now???

  1. It’s a good question, but it can be rationalised easily enough. Simply put, a form of racism.
    The bombing in Europe we can relate to. Brussels? I know what that looks like, I’ve seen it in movies, heard of it in books. I’ve met people from there, they don’t look so much different from the average European.
    Pakistan? Where’s that? Oh the middle east? and they’re populated by middle-Easterners??? They look different.They speak a different language, and they live in a place that’s not quite west and not quite east. They’re different from us, and we call where they live middle-east, not the west.
    We’ve removed them from the European world that we know of, segregated them through language, by visual identity, and a lack of engagement with their Islamic culture.

    It’s purely the lack of cultural familiarity. and the way our language holds their geography at arms length.

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    • I think racism is certainly part of the answer. I think the other part is ignorance. But then, racism is generally based on ignorance, isn’t it. I agree that a lack of cultural familiarity plays a large role, and this is why I think it is so very important to study other cultures, to find things to admire in each. But in the last few years, and I think terrorism has played a role here, it seems that we are going backward in our thought processes. I know here in the U.S., there is a terrible trend of hatred toward Muslims, and I do not understand it. I do not understand how we can hate an entire group of people based on the actions of a few. I wish I knew how to solve that problem, but other than trying to be the voice of reason, trying to spread the idea of globalism, of cultural diversity, of humanitarianism, I do not know how to solve it. Thanks for your thoughtful comments!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was no problem. I don’t actually agree with globalisation too much though. Cultural imperialism theory never sat well with me.

        The trend against Islam is one of convenience. Muslim’s make easy targets because: ignorance against the culture, an assimilation of Islamic identity with extremism, a visual difference (headscarfs).
        When there’s a minority population that lives amongst your community, they become convenient targets whenever strong feelings of violence or retribution are aroused.
        A historic example of this is the Rhineland massacres of 11th century, the Jewish death camps in the Third Reich, native American concentration camps, Aborigine massacres in Australia.
        More modern examples would include the collapse of Yugoslavia (Rwanda, Bosnia), Japanese persecution by the Chinese today, Falun Gong, and our regard for China and Russia in international politics today.
        Unfortunately, fear is too easy to manipulate in politics today, and you are correct – fear can only be answered with knowledge and education 🙂

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        • I don’t know if you have been reading my blog long enough to know, but I have neighbors who are Syrian refugees and are Muslims. They and I have found ways to break down the language barriers and we have become great friends, sharing Christmas, Thanksgiving, and birthdays together. They have expanded my culinary horizons, as well as my cultural knowledge and I love them dearly. They have come under criticism from others in the community and it makes my blood boil! I have alienated a few so-called Christian friends over it, but obviously those friends do not share my values, so perhaps they were not friends. Anyway, point being, I am honored to live in a neighborhood that is culturally diverse, with people from Pakistan, Iraq, Syria and Mexico. Makes life so much more interesting!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Wow that sounds amazing. If I had a house of my own I think it would be a great experience hosting refugees. My understanding comes purely from globalisation studies, religious studies and the biography, ‘I am Malala’
            Its just so sad here in Australia that refugees are treated the way they are. And no, 😛 I only discovered your blog today through the opinionated man. 🙂

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  2. We pick and choose. Who remembers the Armenian genocide done by Turkey? See? So complicated. So complex. Like Manzanar? A war against the yellow race? No German roundup! No Italian roundup! They were white. Right? Africa is still the white man’s burden. Would that be the Belgian Congo?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear you, James, and I agree … but I am just so disturbed (an understatement, but for lack of a more acceptable word …) at the trend I am seeing these days with the divisions between “them” and “us”. I don’t understand it and a part of me wishes not to understand it, but I think we must try to understand it before we can do much to fix it. Then again, the world isn’t much changed in some ways since 2,000 years ago, so why should I expect it to change in my lifetime? :/

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  3. Well, if it helps (of course it does not), we are not much better in Europe either. There is news coverage of some of the incidents you mention, but the articles are much shorter than those about the terror in Paris or Brussels. I guess one tends to be more concerned about things that happen up close, but that should be no apology for disregarding other people’s suffering. I think (and that is quite terrible in itself) that we have gotten used to stories about incidents in countries like Iraq or Pakistan. We shake our heads and say “oh yes, another bombing, terrible”, but we do not feel the outrage we should feel about every human life taken by cold-blooded and senseless terror. We have almost accepted that bad things happen in some countries. Maybe it is a wake-up call that the terror moved close now. Maybe we will feel their pain now, too.

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    • We do, indeed, get complacent. When things happen so far away, and in a world we are unfamiliar with, it is too easy to shake our heads, say a few words of regret, then move on without so much as filing it away in one of our mental chambers for future reference. Plus, and I think this is a big part of it too, we have only so much capacity to take on the sorrows of the world. At some point, if we took to heart every sorrow, every horror around the globe, we could not bear it. I suspect the human brain weeds out a certain amount in the interest of self-preservation. But the media and the politicians really need to think more globally! 🙂

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