Food for Thought

Know what’s interesting? Today in Iraq, it’s estimated that 31 people have been killed and 200 wounded. In Bahrain, in the months of March and April, 35 people have been killed. Yesterday in Syria, the latest news says that at least 25 people have been killed, many of them children. Any one of these is more than the number of people injured in the Boston marathon. 

Despite this, I don’t find myself checking back on the news to see updates about Syria. I don’t get the initial chill I got when reading about the Boston bombings. Facebook isn’t awash with people wishing the people of Iraq love and support, thinking of the families of Syrians whose children were killed in the government bombing yesterday. The BBC doesn’t consider four car bombings in Iraq “breaking news”, it isn’t full of news, insights, personal recounts, photos, tweets, messages from Obama, about all of the other death and destruction in the world.

And I wonder why. I wonder why the coverage is so different for each place. I wonder why we seem to feel so much more strongly about the deaths in the US. Possibly because they’re people like us, we may have known someone running in the Boston Marathon, or who did last year. Even if we’ve never been to Boston we have been to cities similar. But why does this make such a difference? The people in Syria are still people. They’re mourning their dead just as we are.

And then I wonder what affect this difference in the way we view the deaths of different people has on us. Particularly subconsciously. Which messages are being reinforced here? What do we learn from the difference in coverage? About the value we place on life?

I don’t know the answer to these questions. And I am sending love to the people of Boston. But also to the people of Baghdad, Kirkuk, Nasariyah, Tuz Khyrmatu, Damascus, Hasaka province, Manama, and all of the other areas of the world that are torn apart with violence.