|No cause without an effect and vice versa
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|Author:||FrankGSterleJr [ Thu Nov 26, 2015 5:18 pm ]|
|Post subject:||No cause without an effect and vice versa|
Massacres like the attacks in Paris are hideously common
While it’s facile to attribute our double standard to racism, it does expose a collective numbness that we have developed in the west.
As I end my three weeks in Europe I can’t help reflecting about one particular issue. The hierarchy of suffering. Not merely because of its moral implications but also because of what is says and then dictates about western foreign policy.
While it is irresponsible and indeed cruel to downplay in any way the horrors that occurred in Paris—and I have a personal connection to the tragedy—we need to remember that massacres are hideously common, sometimes a weekly occurrence, in many parts of the world. Just the day before the French monstrosity almost 50 people were killed in Beirut and four times as many badly wounded. In Baghdad, 24 people were slaughtered and twice as many wounded and just a few months ago in a university in Kenya 147 young people were murdered.
In 2014 I wrote a book about terrorism in the developing world and the scale and the crippling regularity of it all was often beyond comprehension. While it’s facile to attribute our double standard to racism, it does expose a collective numbness that we have developed in the west. If we’re honest about it, we simply assume that this is what happens in “those” places but not in Paris, London or, God forbid, Toronto or Montreal!
It’s disturbing of many levels but it’s also plain wrong. Cities like Damascus and Beirut used to be safe, secure and, in the case of the latter, exotic and seductive. I know the region and generally felt safer in Lebanon than much of the United States.
Paris, on the other hand, has witnessed grossly violent revolutions and upheavals for centuries. Religious mass murder in the sixteenth-century, class warfare of incalculable proportions in the 1790s, bloody uprisings in 1830, 1848 and 1870, Nazi occupation in 1940 and colonial wars in the early 1960s.
So when Arabs and Africans offer sympathy for our pain but ask for some reciprocal concern we should try to appreciate their sensitivities. To put in bluntly, in spite of what we might think our lives are not more important than theirs.
And this, perhaps, lies at the heart of why we have a problem in the first place.
Western foreign policy is of course based on self-interest, and that is entirely understandable, but it leads us to bomb and invade which in turn leads to anarchy and terrorism. I am not trying to justify even a tincture of ISIS sadism but I do believe that a different approach to “the other” might benefit all of us. To intelligently respond rather than viscerally react is not s sign of weakness but of strength and wisdom.
November 23, 2015, MetroView
“Western foreign policy is of course based on self-interest, and that is entirely understandable, but it leads us to bomb and invade which in turn leads to anarchy and terrorism. I am not trying to justify even a tincture of ISIS sadism but I do believe that a different approach to “the other” might benefit all of us. To intelligently respond rather than viscerally react is not s sign of weakness but of strength and wisdom.”
My (Frank Sterle Jr) response:
Although no doubt ISIS acquires its recruits through insidious means, that said acquisition of malleable minds is made possible primarily through a solid foundation of fact: morally corrupt Western foreign policy has smart-bombed away much of the Muslim Middle East and Afghanistan for as long as I can recall; and the West will likely continue to do so until the side with the biggest stick and/or most unrelenting malicious motivation gets the last tat for tit. This fact is what triggers those initial sparks of outrage at such massive injustices committed against the Middle Eastern, with so much of it specifically directed against Muslims.
Furthermore, while we hear enough about smart-bomb attacks, etcetera, resulting in collateral damage involving civilians, one is left wondering about all of the similar suffering by innocents caused by Western bombings and other indirect attacks about which we do not hear.
And it doesn’t at all help that, on a subconscious level we vary in our value of human life residing in the more or most hazardous locations, such as Syria, etcetera.
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