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.

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Comments on the article “Visceral Empathy”

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Commander William T. Riker: We feel a loss more intensely when it's a friend.
Lt. Commander Data: Hm... But should not the feelings run just as deep, regardless of who has died?
Commander William T. Riker: Maybe they should, Data. Maybe if we felt any loss as keenly as we felt the death of one close to us - human history would be a lot less bloody.


Thank you for making this point I've been trying to make it to friend and others, and all I seem to hear (for the most part is "us poor amerikans" And it makes me sick!

Joseph M.

RE: ""us poor amerikans" And it makes me sick!" -Chernobyl.** You are a horrible twisted individual. You have no business politicizing this horrible atrocity into a snide twisted little comment like that. A little boy died after seeing his father run a race and who congratulated him and went back in line to his mother. He had nothing to do with any global wars or drone strikes. You have a lot to learn about life. You want to put empathy for Boston into some global context well here it is. WE'RE ALL BOSTON. Whether your from Ireland, Chicago, New York, Afghanistan, Yemen, or anywhere in the free world. We seek justice and peace from terror. The just are at war with the unjust and its age old battle. You want Context with a global conflict, you want to point to demand fair journalism as you say. Well thats all fine and dandy but leave boston the hell alone because you just don't get it. We are Boston and we stand against terrorists who cowardly attack women and children.


You just missed the whole point about why "us poor amerikans" And it makes me sick!" was even brought up, if you would have actually read into the article you would realize the statement made was agreeing with the point that; yes we should have support and empathy for the people of Boston, but at the same time we as a country should realize how hypocritical that is of us because we inflict similar (if not worse) pain and misery on other peoples that most of the time don't deserve it either. You can not deny that, unless of course you've never read much about what's going on in the world on a bigger scale. Which brings us to the other point that yes media attention should be on Boston, we should morn as a country, but why when it's not in America are we unable to have empathy towards those individuals? They are still people, even if you don't want to admit that.

Joseph m.

You missed the point. The whole article is about comparing empathy when there is no need to. The original tweet was insensitive and trying to make a 2cent political point. You don't get it, and frankly anyone who agrees with this wreckless article using a Bostonian injured minor at this event for a cover To your story is twisted. i am positive you didnt get written approval from that boys family either.. just tasteless.


Whoa, sir, I think you're overreacting. Take a chill pill. The article has a point. The world has the tendency to zero in on the West more from an emotional p.o.v. And about the injured child, what do you say about the Time? It's theirs cover. Of course, it's gaudy, unproffesional and it aims to inflict emotional exploitation. But, again, relax. Show respect.


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