I’m not sure I will ever understand the double standard. I’m not sure that I will ever understand what makes one life more valuable than the other. Each time something happens in the world – an attack, an earthquake, a plane crash, something that unexpectedly takes human life – we react as though we’ve witnessed the robbing of human life. Yet, somehow the same indignation doesn’t apply to all of humanity. The devastation in Brussels or Paris has people changing their Facebook profiles and drumming up crowdfunding campaigns. It’s heartwarming to see how the masses help their fellow humankind.
But while my heart is warming, I sit here scratching my head trying to figure out why there is no indignation for all those living in tragedy day after day. Why is there no call for condemnation for the hundreds of thousands of lives that have been taken over the past 15 years in the Gulf region or the Middle East. The day of the Brussels attack, 37 Iraqi civilians died. The day after the attack, an additional 13 Iraqi civilians were killed. I saw no one changing their Facebook profiles, I didn’t notice any politicians demanding that those responsible be held accountable for the robbing of those lives. Are those lives somehow less important? Do they not deserve the same freedom to live their lives as those in Brussels?
It seems to me we’re all the same, and the proof of that is the overreaction after each one of these attacks. After the attack in Brussels, politicians start calling for Muslim bans, surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods, the return of torture interrogation techniques. That sounds terrifying for Muslims. That’s terrifying for anyone who values constitutional rights! There was no attack on American soil, yet every American Arab or Muslim (or any brown person for that matter) is collectively punished. Brussels is thousands of miles away, yet this is the US reaction!
It’s not that I don’t understand the anger, the sadness, or the despair. I just don’t understand why desperation is only justified when something like this occurs in the White, White, West. Yet, when it occurs in Lebanon, as it did on November 12, 2015-a day before the Paris attacks-no one in the West bats an eye.
I found it quite offensive that a “commentator” stated that Brussels was a “beautiful and safe city” 20 years ago. Twenty years ago, before the US and friends invaded the Middle East and made it a military camp hotspot, it was beautiful too. For 20 years, citizens of the Middle East have watched the western militaries destroy their everyday lives. Yet somehow, the west acts like innocent victims in the war on terror.
How is it that western society doesn’t seem to understand how it is possible for people to become so infuriated while experiencing, day after day, for 20 years, the terror that Brussels encountered in one day? This is a no-brainer, people! Scores of studies show that when one witnesses recurring violence, he has a higher propensity to become violent. A child born 20 years ago in Iraq has seen nothing other than violence. If that’s not terrorism, I’m not sure what is. Hiring a PR firm to dress something up by calling it a “war on terrorism” doesn’t make it any less traumatic. And yet we say, “They hate us for our freedom.” They don’t hate us for our freedom, they hate us because we stole theirs.