Compassion Fatigue

Here we go again. The tragedy in Bangladesh and the tragedy in Istanbul have gotten the reverse-racists back from out of the woodwork calling the rest of us monsters for not mourning enough over the innocent dead. Why are we having all this wailing for Orlando and not for Dhaka?

Well, first off, there’s proximity. In the EU, Paris and Brussels are the center of the area. Most people in Europe have heard of Paris and Brussels, and most of us who can afford it have either been to those places or want to see them eventually. The media getting there is easy because it’s already there. One just has corporate shell out a few thousand bucks and the entire crew is flying to the scene in a matter of minutes.

Same thing with Orlando, “over here” is always more important than “over there.”

Secondly, and most important are the numbers. There is a a regional war going on in the Middle East; A civil war going on in Syria, an ISIS invasion of Iraq, a gratuitous Turkish war with the Kurds, etcetera, in which hundreds of thousands of people have died and millions of refugees are flooding Europe’s borders every day.

The tragedies Europe, the US and Israel have suffered in the last year have been a piffle. I know it sounds callous, but consider:

(Figures courtesy the BBC)

3 July 2016: 200+, killed and 225 injured in Baghdad suicide attack.

28 June 2016 14 people were killed and 32 injured after a suicide bombing at a Sunni mosque in Abu Ghraib

9 June 2016: At least 30 people killed in and around Baghdad in two suicide attacks claimed by IS

17 May 2016: Four bomb blasts kill 69 people in Baghdad; three of the targets were Shia areas

11 May 2016: Car bombs in Baghdad kill 93 people, including 64 in market in Shia district of Sadr City

1 May 2016: Two car bombs kill at least 33 people in southern city of Samawa

26 March 2016: Suicide attack targets football match in central city of Iskandariya, killing at least 32

6 March 2016: Fuel tanker blown up at checkpoint near central city of Hilla, killing 47

28 February 2016: Twin suicide bomb attacks hit market in Sadr City, killing 70.

The above list is not anywhere near exhaustive. What’s going on in Syria is just as bad, and ISIS/Daesh isn’t involved in all the other mass killings going on in the Muslim World at the moment.

Which reminds me, did anyone care when the US killed over 300 ISIS/Daesh soldiers in an airstrike the other day? They’re people too….and how about all those North Koreans murdered in the Haengyong concentration camp? You know, the one that’s designed to be like Dachau and few have ever heard of? Boko Harim is still going strong…sure there was some solidarity marches a couple of years ago, but then how did THAT work out, hmmmmmm?

Waving flags and wearing ribbons doesn’t work. Attacking people for having “compassion fatigue” is worse than useless.

It’s not racist to mourn some complete strangers more than others. What happened in Baghdad and Istanbul isn’t terrorism, it’s war, and there’s a difference.

Things seem different when they’re after you.

About the Author
Eric Lurio is a freelance writer and artist. He's been a movie critic for the past fifteen years and has been writing about travel and politics since the 1970s. Among his books are "The Cartoon Guide to the US Constitution and "A Fractured History fo the Discovery of America."
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