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Letter: Why do we ignore violence outside the Western world?

Why do we ignore violence outside the Western world?

As people wrap themselves in France’s flag and a scroll through Facebook is now a blur of blue, white and red, I grow more bewildered. Of course, I mourn the loss of life, and pray for my brothers and sisters in Paris, but I must ask: Why hadn’t I seen Facebook profile pictures through the flag of Lebanon? Beirut was terrorized by ISIS in almost mirrored attacks the day before Paris fell prey. Why had no one draped himself in the Kenyan flag, Syrian flag or Iraqi flag?

Certainly, I understand that we have a great affinity to our European neighbors, but where is our compassion, our humanity, when the violence and injustice occurs outside our hegemonic clique? When the violence takes place in Syria, Lebanon, Kenya, etc., our moral compass doesn’t appear to register an upset. There is a perverse acceptance when the carnage occurs outside our Western gated community. The media barely mention it or ignore it entirely, but when it happens in France, the media deluge us with images, names of victims and painstakingly illustrate the horror inflicted on innocents. It seems France is just a little too close to home. Now, the violence matters, our fear is heightened and we are uncomfortable with danger’s proximity and open our grief reserves to those we deem deserving.

I won’t be dressing my profile picture in the French flag to show my support. It’s a pyrrhic gesture, and frankly, insulting to the thousands who have been killed and tortured by ISIS, not to mention the hundreds of thousands who have died across that region. This isn’t to say I don’t pray for France, simply that I don’t pray for it alone.

Sharon Cook-Abbas