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Bombs from Boston to Baghdad: What Is the Value of a Human Life?

by Lindsey German
Source: Information Clearing House

 

Judged by the media coverage, it is hard not to conclude that western lives are valued much more highly than those of people in Afghanistan, Iraq or the Middle East.

The bombing in Boston is a tragedy, and everyone should condemn the actions of people who have destroyed the lives of people enjoying themselves watching the marathon.

But last week in Afghanistan a US airstrike killed eleven children and several women. This Afghan bombing is only one of many that are killing civilians every week.

In Iraq bombs go off in crowded areas regularly. A wave of bombings across the country yesterday left at least 75 Iraqis dead.

And in Syria too, there is a daily repetition of carnage that is killing countless civilians.

Judged by the media coverage, it is hard not to conclude that western lives are valued much more highly than those of people in Afghanistan or the Middle East, and that bombs in the middle of major US cities are regarded as more newsworthy than those in the Afghan countryside or in Baghdad.

When commentators and journalists empathise with the victims of the Boston bomb, many will wonder why they give hardly a passing thought for those other victims who were also caught in the middle of their everyday lives, enjoying themselves in the sunshine, shopping in markets or celebrating weddings.

The general rule seems to be ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

But the mayhem wreaked by western intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and elsewhere is not out of the minds of the millions who witness it and live with it every day. Nor is it forgotten by those in the west who opposed these policies and predicted they would create more terrorism, not less.

It is unclear who was responsible for the Boston bombs, with the reports suggesting either a group from the Middle East, or home grown right wing extremists marking Patriot Day.

That hasn’t stopped right wing commentators (step forward Fox News’ commentator) from blaming the Muslims and from Muslims worldwide expressing fears that this new attack would lead to further scapegoating and racism towards them.

Terrorism is now routinely blamed on Muslims even though most Muslims are as horrified by such attacks as anyone else. And even though the most serious terror attack in Europe in recent years was from a right wing extremist in Norway trying to advance his anti immigration and anti Muslim agenda.

Whatever the truth about this latest bombing, the continued refusal to acknowledge the widespread grievances against the US and its allies caused by the wars and US policies in the Middle East will lead to turmoil until political solutions are found.

That solution includes getting all foreign troops out of Afghanistan and the Middle East, ending discrimination against Muslims and supporting justice for the Palestinians.

Not coming any time soon, then?

MuslimVillage.com Editor’s note:

According to the Quran, a human life is a human life: “Whoever kills a person…it is as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind.” (Qur’an, 5:32).

The bombing in Boston is a tragedy, and everyone should condemn the actions of people who have destroyed the lives of people enjoying themselves watching the marathon.

We feel for all victims of terror, regardless of faith or the colour of their skin.

But judged by the media coverage of the Boston bombing, it is hard not to conclude that western lives are valued much more highly than those of people in Afghanistan, Iraq or the Middle East.

Is An Amercian Life More Valuable?

Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News- 2013-04-16

While the loss of life is a tragedy, the media attention focused on the Boston Marathon bombings where 3 people have been killed and 144 others injured, it seems that the loss of life in the West takes precedence over life in other parts of the world.

Across Iraq dozens of attacks including a brazen car bombing on the way to Baghdad airport, have killed 50 people, just days before the country’s first elections since US troops withdrew.

In North Western Pakistan a suspected U.S. drone missile strike killed five people near the Afghan border Sunday evening.

In Syria at least 25 people, many of them children, have been killed in two Syrian government air strikes.

Sister Khadija Patel, Radio Islam’s Africa correspondent and Daily Maverick journalist told Radio Islam’s Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat that this was not a new debate.

She cited the example of a hurricane (Sandy) that threatened New York and what a pivotal moment it was in international media. “The fact that this hurricane was threatening New York even though the hurricane had significantly died down by the time it hit New York. But in the meanwhile when the hurricane was far stronger over the Caribbean and when it wreaked absolute havoc over the Caribbean inflicting many, many casualties, there wasn’t the same interest from the international media,” said Patel.

She said that many commentators called the international media out on their views pointing out, whose lives and whose property were more valuable. “Is American lives and American property more valuable than the rest of the world? These are significant questions we must answer,” added Patel.

Patel quoted an African proverb (“The writing of history belongs to the victors”) and said that it must be understood that America is the most prosperous nation on earth and Americans have the reins to the way we understand the world. “We must realize that much of the international media is based from a fundamentally Western centric view of the world,” added Patel

So after having experienced the shock and grief of the Boston bombings, can the world and international media not empathize a little more with Iraqi, Pakistani, Syrian or other victims from around the world? Compassion for all humankind is the only way to turn such tragedies towards positive energy.

While the act of terror or terrorism has no religion or nation its victims are precious human beings and valuable human lives, who must be the objects of compassion for us all.

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