The Politics of Mourning Part 2


I am shocked and saddened by the horrible attacks in Brussels this morning. Like most of us, I woke up to the non-stop news coverage of the carnage. My heart goes out to the victims and their families. The survivors. And all of the human beings who are stranded and afraid at this very moment, due to the prudent shutdown of mass transit.

The Istanbul attacks made it to the mainstream press a few days ago. I don’t think the attacks got quite as much coverage as we are seeing for the Brussels attacks.

I have asked this before, and I need to ask this again. Why do we mourn the deaths of innocents in Europe, (and of course here in the US) while ignoring the deaths of equally innocent human beings in other parts of the world?

In 2015, Boko Haram killed more people than ISIS did. Boko Haram is every bit as evil as ISIS. They have massacred entire communities. The schoolgirls who were kidnapped from their classrooms in Chibok and enslaved by Boko Haram got a little bit of press in the US. But the thousands of other innocents slaughtered last year did not earn a blip in the news media. The car bombs. The massacres. The kidnapping and enslavement of thousands of women and girls. So far, to my knowledge, Boko Haram has not killed or enslaved any white people. You know in your heart that if these thousands of victims had been white, if the massacres had occurred in beautiful, iconic cities, rather than in places whose names feel so foreign on our tongues, the coverage would be different.

The slaughter of innocent human beings in Syria exceeds our capacity to comprehend.  The chart below is from Wikipedia. As I gaze at it, I see numbers. Just numbers. No portraits of weeping mothers telling us about their promising offspring whose lives were tragically cut short. No footage of shell-shocked survivors, covered in dust, telling their individual stories. No urgent updates from CNN, telling us exactly what is going on.


Time PeriodPro-government forcesAnti-government forcesCiviliansGrand Total (inc.unidentified)
201152,290 killed[26]29,083 killed[26]46,266 killed[27][28]2011: 7,841 killed[29]
2012(2013: 22,436)2012: 49,294 killed[29]
2013 2013: 73,447 killed[29]
201425,160 killed32,726 killed17,790 killed76,021 killed[30]
201517,686 killed24,010 killed13,249 killed55,219 killed[31]
Jan-161,599 killed1,687 killed1,345 killed4,680 killed[32]
Feb-161,442 killed2,209 killed1,109 killed4,802 killed[33]
Cumulative 20163,041 killed3,896 killed2,454 killed9,482 killed


We just mourn some deaths more than others.

The news media, of course, choses what to feed us. Ironically, it is those who retort but “ALL LIVES MATTER” who remain the most ignorant. But to a certain degree, we almost are all complacent.

Today we rightly keep the city of Brussels in our hearts.  But tomorrow, perhaps we should take some time to mourn, to empathize with, to HUMANIZE innocent victims from other corners of the globe.

Please see [otw_shortcode_button href=”” size=”medium” icon_position=”left” shape=”square”]The Politics of Mourning Part 1[/otw_shortcode_button]