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Hullabaloo


Monday, November 16, 2015

 

Their dead don't matter

by Tom Sullivan

One-hundred twenty-nine people died and over 350 were injured in ISIS attacks in Paris last week. The world recoiled in horror. Cities across the world lit buildings in the French colors and held vigils. In Beirut last week, 43 died and over 200 were wounded in suicide attacks claimed by the Islamic State. Plus in Baghdad, 26 died and dozens more were wounded. ISIS claimed responsibility there too. The world took little notice.

If ISIS/ISIL/Daesh really was responsible for all those attacks, it had a busy week. In Beirut, Elie Fares finds it a sad commentary where "It's just a bomb" is announced with a shrug and dozens dying in the streets is almost the norm:

My people didn't get international condemnations. Their deaths did not wake up US President Barack Obama, compelling him to issue a statement about how they were a blow for humanity. After all what is humanity but a subjective term delineating the worth of the human being it refers to?

My people didn't get anything more than a brief mention in the news cycles, something akin to a weather report. My people didn't see landmarks lit up in the colours of their flag. My people didn't unite the world in declarations of sympathy. They didn't even get a Facebook button to tell their families they were safe.

And you know what, I'm fine with it all. I've come to accept that I will never truly matter. I will never matter as long as there are Lebanese and other Arabs who are more devastated by what took place in Paris than by what takes place almost daily in their own home cities. They say it's because such attacks have become normal for us. They say it's habituation. But it's not.

We can ask for the world to think that Beirut is as important as Paris, or for Facebook to add a 'safety check' button for us to use daily, or for people to care about us. But the truth of the matter is that we are a people who have grown so used to being broken that we long ago stopped trying to heal.

Something to look forward to. Who didn't see this coming?