Desensitised (Boston Tragedy)

Like millions of others around the world, I went to bed with a little less hope in humanity last night.  That what was meant to be a fun day at the Boston Marathon resulted in many injuries and 3 deaths because of 2 bombs, really doesn’t sit well with me.

At the same time, though, I was encouraged. Virtually my entire twitter stream was dedicated to the victims, families, organisers, police services etc that have been directly affected.  Prayers have been offered. Shock and horror has been expressed. Political statements have been made.

But did you know that while 2 bombs went off in first world Boston yesterday, a series of bombs were detonated in Baghdad, Tuz Khurmatu, Kirkuk and Nasariyah yesterday killing 31 people and injuring at least 200?

Don’t feel bad that you didn’t know.  Most of the world glossed over that headline and headed straight for Boston bombing. What does this say about us people?

And I don’t mean that in a “what does this say about our hearts” kind of way. I mean, what does it say about us psychologically?

Here’s another example.  I sometimes go read the online newspaper of my hometown. Yesterday there was a headline about a little boy that drowned in a swimming pool at a school I am familiar with. I know staff at the school, I know students who went to the school.  I read the article.  However, on the 31st of December this year thousands of people will descend upon Eastern Beach in East London.  It is both a tradition and a cultural thing for rural, Xhosa, Eastern Cape.  Kids will drown.  They always do. I never read the articles.

I’m worried about the concept of desensitisation. I’m worried that because we are so used to hearing of bombs in Iraq, we no longer care.  I’m worried that because we see car accidents on the N1 every day, we drive by without sparing a thought for the families. I’m worried that cancer and AIDS have become such common deseases that we  don’t really think about them too much, unless we are affected directly.

What happened in Boston is horrible. It shouldn’t have happened, whatever the reason. What happened in Iraq is horrible. It shouldn’t have happened, whatever the reason. But why am I struggling to have the same amount of horror for the latter as I do for the former?

Desensitised much?

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