Friday, March 25, 2016

The Bright Lights Aren't Burning

We in the West were appalled by this week's terrorist attacks in Brussels. At almost the same time, there was an attack in Ankara. Micheal Harris writes:

Just before ISIS operatives set off bombs in Brussels, the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks detonated a car bomb in Turkey near a transportation hub, killing 37 and injuring 70 more. A closely-timed second attack killed four more people. In fact, Turkey has been beset by a spate of bombings by Kurdish separatists and ISIS, who in 2015 alone killed 141 and injured 910 others.

While the world mourned Brussels, Ankara was treated as a mere regional event. Case in point: After this week’s Brussels bombings, European countries raised the Belgian flag above their national monuments — a fitting tribute. The Eiffel Tower was illuminated in the colours of the Belgian flag, as was One World Trade Center in New York (though in truth, the colours looked more like red, white and blue).

Malala Yousafzai reminded us that the only difference in the attacks was where they took place, not who the victims were:

“Do you not see that this indifference to the non-Western lives is EXACTLY what is creating and feeding terror organizations like ISIS? … If your intention is to stop terrorism, do not try to blame the whole population of Muslims for it, because that cannot stop terrorism,” she said.

But that's exactly what we are doing -- blaming all Muslims. In the United States, Ted Cruz wants to have special police patrols in Muslim neighbourhoods. And it appears that Americans may choose Donald Trump as their president:

That is astonishing for a few reasons. First of all, Trump has zero experience in fighting terrorism in any official capacity. He has never held public office, and his chief advisor on foreign policy is The Donald. Trump has been widely denounced by military, national security and senior police leaders for his unconstitutional, illegal and flatly dangerous approach to some of America’s deepest problems.

The list is well known. So far Trump has proposed banning all Muslims from entering the United States, deporting 12 million illegal aliens, building a wall on the Mexican border, bringing back torture and instituting racial profiling in Muslim communities in the U.S.

The bright lights aren't burning.



Lorne said...

Special police patrols in Muslim neighbourhoods, Owen? That such an idea would find currency is surely testament to the incapacity of the far right to think in anything beyond absolutist terms.

Owen Gray said...

It's entirely in keeping with their Manichean view of the world, Lorne. People are either good or evil. "We" are good and "they" are evil. Welcome back from the Golden State.

The Mound of Sound said...

What of 800,000 innocents slaughtered in Rwanda, 5-million Congolese, the untold masses now being butchered in South Sudan, on and on.

If you put all of them on balance scales, whites on one side, non-whites on the other, you might find the ratio of our "give a shit" level.

Some lives count. They touch our nerves, pull at our heartstrings, compel us to gestures of condolence and solidarity.

Other lives, whose collective enormity obliterates the tally of white lives, simply don't matter because, in our minds, they don't exist. Yet we have plenty of rage left over to lavish on Japanese whalers or Newfies on seal pups.

I won't repeat Romeo Dallaire's remark but it's still as true as ever.

Owen Gray said...

Dallaire will always remind us of our selective sympathy, Mound. The only lives that matter in our universe are lives like ours.