Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Here and There

Trey Smith

There is a palpable irony whenever some sort of atrocity takes place in the US. It dominates the news cycle 24/7. There is an outpouring of sympathy from people across the country. People everywhere denounce the senseless violence and calls for justice are ubiquitous. The nation as a whole shudders.

The sad irony is that none of this occurs when the victims are Arabs and/or Muslims who are killed and maimed by us. Most such occurrences don't even warrant a headline and, if it's reported at all, we're told not to worry because only "bad people" were targeted. There are few outpourings of sympathy and almost no one in the mainstream denounces the senseless violence. Far from shuddering, most Americans simply yawn.

While our sensibilities are shocked at incidents like those in Boston yesterday or Newtown or Aurora, they aren't a daily or weekly occurrence. While they do happen far more frequently than we would like, we tend to go for weeks or months before the next one strikes. The same cannot be said for the residents of Pakistan, Syria, Iraq or Yemen. They must always be on guard because the bombings and missile attacks can be a weekly or daily occurrence.

As much as we are repulsed by a deadly attack at a sporting event in Boston, we should be just as repulsed by a deadly attack at a wedding party in Pakistan or a picnic in Yemen. As Juan Cole wrote today, "Having experienced the shock and grief of the Boston bombings, cannot we in the US empathize more with Iraqi victims and Syrian victims?"


Note: Glenn Greenwald makes this same point and several others in an excellent column today.

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