Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On Tragedies, Death, and What Is Normal

Today, two bombs went off in Boston killing three people and injuring over a hundred more. The perpetrator has yet to be caught or identified, but this is a horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to all those who have suffered from this.

...And, yet, I can't help but think of elsewhere. Yes, this is a horrible tragedy, but, elsewhere, this is, well, normal. Things like this happen every day. In Iraq, there were several bombings today all across the country killing far more people than the one in Boston. In Somalia, there was an attack on its capital today. We all heard of the bombing in Boston, but who heard about the one that went off in Thailand? We all are shocked by the deaths in Boston, but what about the one in Mali? People call for justice for the person who set this off, yet why don't we do that for the one that went off in Afghanistan? All of these happened in the same day. All of these had at least the death toll of the one in Boston, and many had a much higher death toll, but only the one in Boston got coverage all day, with speculations from conspiracy nuts of it being a false flag operation and calls for retribution. Why is it that this one is so special?

Some might say it's because it hit close to home, and, while there's certainly some truth to that, but there was a ton of news coverage of the Madrid train bombings in 12004 HE, and that's certainly not close to home. However, they are more close than Afghanistan or Mali culturally and their seen as allies. That's certainly an element, but there's more to it.

Others might say that it was because of the civilians involved, but the victims in the bombing in Afghanistan were all civilians, as were many of the victims in the one in Iraq and Somalia. So, no, it's not because of civilians, unless people don't count them as civilians.

So what do I suspect? Well, in places like Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, or even Mali or Thailand, such attacks are more, well, normal.  In Boston, bombs blowing up in the streets is likely a once in a lifetime ordeal while, in Baghdad, it's a daily occurrence. People don't think it's special when a bomb goes off in someplace like Iraq because there are always bombs going off in Iraq. What's a tragedy here is normal there, and that is the true tragedy.

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