Selective Sympathy


The debate over media’s glaring insensitivity to Beirut attacks that took place two days before the Paris attacks and ongoing airstrikes in Syria that continue to leave millions homeless and vulnerable has been hot on social media this entire week.

More rage surged in when Facebook introduced a one click Paris flag filter for profile pictures to show solidarity with the victims. Many protested that it was unfair to sympathise with one country when too many countries are suffering from the curse of terrorism with no one taking the time out to talk about their plight. While there is nothing wrong with the above claims, a lot is wrong with the way some of us show (or don’t show) ‘compassion’ to those who suffer.

Some (not all) Pakistanis have also taken to tell the world that since they aren’t going to show solidarity with the Parisians because they have to show solidarity with the victims of their own country. Shouldn’t that be more of a reason to sympathise with them, since they are victims of the same curse as we are?  We understand the horror those people must have gone through better than anyone because of what happened in APS last year. Instead, the majority that did extend its support and compassion was criticised by the few bitter souls for doing so.

I can’t fathom the reason of this resentment towards other countries. Why do we have to hate others to prove that we love our homeland? If your patriotism demands you to shun humanity, then maybe you should stop being patriotic.

Yes, the media should have provided coverage to Beirut and all other countries that are suffering from terrorism and war. It didn’t and it’s sad but it shouldn’t matter. What should matter is that we KNOW what happened in Beirut and we know what happened in Paris. We have that knowledge so why don’t we just prize the fact that we are informed and extend compassion to all victims?

Selective sympathy only shows that we are still unable to understand that terrorism is a global issue and it affects everyone. It keeps us divided and divisions are what this world needs to overcome right now.

P.S. Just as I finished writing this, I came across this news article about APS victims’ reaction to Paris attacks and it’s heartbreaking to say the least.

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