Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Boston bombing produces familiar and revealing reactions...

There's not much to say about Monday's Boston Marathon attack because there is virtually no known evidence regarding who did it or why. There are, however, several points to be made about some of the widespread reactions to this incident. Much of that reaction is all-too-familiar and quite revealing in important ways:

(1) The widespread compassion for yesterday's victims and the intense anger over the attacks was obviously authentic and thus good to witness. But it was really hard not to find oneself wishing that just a fraction of that compassion and anger be devoted to attacks that the US perpetrates rather than suffers. These are exactly the kinds of horrific, civilian-slaughtering attacks that the US has been bringing to countries in the Muslim world over and over and over again for the last decade, with very little attention paid. My Guardian colleague Gary Younge put this best on Twitter this morning:

I'm up for us "All Being Bostonians Today". But then can we all be Yemenis tomorrow & Pakistanis the day after? That's how empathy works.

Juan Cole this morning makes a similar point about violence elsewhere. Indeed, just yesterday in Iraq, at least 42 people were killed and more than 250 injured by a series of car bombs, the enduring result of the US invasion and destruction of that country. Somehow the deep compassion and anger felt in the US when it is attacked never translates to understanding the effects of our own aggression against others. Full story...

Related posts:
  1. Boston explosions: 'Please don't be Arabs or Muslims'
  2. The empathy gap: from the Iraq war to drone warfare...
  3. The human cost of "the war on terror..."
  4. War, occupation and massacre...
  5. Sam Richards: A radical experiment in empathy (What if Iraq happened to you?)

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