Friday, 26 May 2017

Sometimes we forget the larger context

Monday was a horrific day for the people of Manchester, England.  A suicide bomber, intent on killing as many as possible, set off his explosives in the arena where a young American singer had just finished her concert.  22 people (men, women & children) died in that explosion and as of today (May 26) 66 remain in hospital, 23 of those in critical condition.

There was widespread grief and mourning in Manchester and throughout the UK and it seems throughout the western world as a number of countries opted to fly flags at half-mast to remember those killed in the blast.  The attack was condemned by various world leaders and became a leading news story on just about television newscast in the western world.

Meanwhile, the death count in Syria as of today (May 26) stands at 470,000.  55,000 children have died in the conflict. (

Where are the thousands of people staging silent memorials for those 55,000 children?  Where are the mountains of flowers and teddy bears left in memorial of those children?  Where are the condemnations from the world leaders?  How many national flags are flying at half-mast to remember those children?

If I was Syrian, I would be thinking that the lives of those 55,000 dead children seem to matter less to the world than 22 people who attended a music concert in Manchester, England.  I would be wondering why so much attention is focused on one act of terrorism when six years of civil war have destroyed my cities, killed nearly half a million people and continue to rain death and destruction as of today (May 26).  

If I was a mother or father in South Sudan watching my children die from starvation in 2017, I would have to wonder why the lives of my children apparently are worth so much less than the lives of those people who died in Manchester?  I would wonder if it has something to do with the colour of my skin or the fact that I don’t speak English.  Meanwhile, I would hold my malnourished baby and slowly watch the child’s life slip away because we have no food.  I would wonder why all those people in England are praying to God when clearly God does not care about a dying child in South Sudan.

If I was the father of a young 23-year old black college graduate who had just joined the US Army, I might be wondering why the world is so focused on the death of 22 people in England and not care one whit about the stabbing death of my beloved son at the hands of a white racist in Maryland. Richard Collins III was scheduled to graduate the day after he was fatally stabbed by a white supremacist.  His murder was good for maybe one news cycle on the TV news and not on all newscasts – just a few.

We talk about the unfairness of this world.  These are just a few examples of how messed up we really are.  Donald Trump and his type are not the symptoms.  They’re the disease.

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