Visceral Empathy

Time to dig deeper.

Time Magazine

Journalist Gary Younge tweets: “I’m up for us all being Bostonians today. But can we all be Yemeni tomorrow and Pakistani the day after? That’s how empathy works.”

Gary got it right. At least, that’s how empathy ought to work. The Boston tragedy is a time for pause and reflection. It is one of those rare moments when a nation and a people are driven to do some soul searching and reassess their path.

Glen Greenwald wrote:

“The widespread compassion for yesterday’s victims and the intense anger over the attacks was obviously authentic and thus good to witness. But it was really hard not to find oneself wishing that just a fraction of that compassion and anger be devoted to attacks that the US perpetrates rather than suffers. These are exactly the kinds of horrific, civilian-slaughtering attacks that the US has been bringing to countries in the Muslim world over and over and over again for the last decade, with very little attention paid.”

At the same instant that Obama publicly condemned the Boston bombings as “heinous and cowardly acts of terror,” Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a Yemeni prisoner at Guantanamo bay, is on hunger strike, tied to a bed and force-fed through tubes painfully thrust 18 inches into his stomach. He has been at Guantanamo for over 11 years. He has never been charged with any crime.

On the same day as the Boston bombings, a series of deadly car bombs went off in Iraq, where routine violence is the ongoing result of the destruction seeded by U.S invasion.

In Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan, drones inflict terror almost on a daily basis. Hundreds of civilians are killed with impunity.

Where is the media coverage there? Why is there not the same lamenting on social media that we see for Boston?

Maybe one of the fall-outs of the Boston massacre will be that we, The People, start taking greater control over American foreign policy and the way the media potrays it.

Maybe we will use this second–9/11 to close the torture camps, shut down Guantanamo bay, end the drone missions, close some of the hundreds of military outposts we have all over the world, and begin to do things right.