It is no secret that the Western world treats murders that take place in the Eastern part of the world as a lesser evil. Nonetheless, crime is a crime no matter where it happens. Humans are humans regardless of their geographical location.
A child is always a child; always deserving the best of treatment, no matter where he lives, or what race he belongs to. Therefore someone being killed in Aleppo is just as bad as someone being killed on a Manhattan avenue. But the reaction seems to change as the location, identity, language, race and religion change!
The location shouldn’t determine if a person will be respected or not. Nor should it decide if a child is going to be treated like a child, or if he is going to be forced to run for his life and scavenge for food.
Regrettably, as you move from the affluent parts of the world to less privileged places, or more specifically, from the Western world to the Eastern world, human life begins to lose importance and starts to turn into statistics.
Most of the time, horrible events happening in these places are perceived in the Western world as nothing more than hazy background news. This is the reason why a terror attack in Paris draws world leaders to a major rally, while another attack in Istanbul, one that is incomparably more violent, is barely covered. This indifference and hypocrisy seem to affect not only politicians but the media and regrettably, a majority of the people as well.
This is particularly surprising considering that new generations have grown up with powerful rhetoric on the importance of human rights, democracy and equality and were supposedly well-equipped against the scourges of racism and violence.
Indeed, painful discrimination and cringe-worthy bias persists without any allowance for women, children or the elderly. The situation is so severe and so distressing that one prime minister can call the refugees “swarms”, while another political leader poses in front of a picture of refugees, promising to stop them.
In other words, the so-called civilised, modern, democratic part of the world displays a shockingly insensitive attitude and appalling bigotry. It is as if there is a mutual silent agreement: “Shut your eyes, close your ears and pretend this is not happening. Ten years later, we’ll say we will never let this happen again”. After all, it happened before.
When the Rwandan genocide and the Bosnian massacres happened, the people in a position to help were quiet, but today they vehemently insist “they will never allow it to happen again”. Yet again today, children die, women are hurt and the elderly are abandoned to the streets.
This indifference will no doubt be a dark, indelible mark on the pages of history. Furthermore, this time, it will not be like the WWI or WWII. The perpetrators of the unspeakable crimes of the past usually got away with their evil activities. There weren’t cameras, embedded journalists, smart phones or Internet. There was no Twitter or Periscope. However, the unspeakable crimes of the modern day are happening in plain sight, caught live by cameras.
You can find thousands of videos showing how refugee children are being targeted in Europe by human traffickers, how children starve in Syria, how refugees drown in seas but still are shown no sympathy. In other words, for the people of today, “unawareness” cannot be an excuse.
It is always an important thing that a person gets hurt, tortured, or killed. If you imagine yourself or someone you love as the person getting hurt, you would understand that it is most assuredly quite important. Human life, human dignity and human rights are always important.
Choose not to be one of those people that have been desensitised by the developments in the world. Don’t accept losing your humanity. Continue to be shocked, continue to oppose all that is wrong and do everything in your power to help stop crimes.
Don’t let the apathy of others hold you back. It is entirely possible that the sensitivity shown by you will help propel other people into action.
Don’t forget, every society needs someone to take the lead because not everyone will have the courage to do the right thing. But once someone steps up, others will invariably follow.
Your efforts, which could be something as simple as a small social media post on love, will definitely make a difference.
Adnan Oktar's piece in Gulf Times: