Can the Boston Bombings increase our Sympathy for Iraq and Syria, for all such Victims?

The horrific bombings of the Boston Marathon produced inspiring images of a spirited, brave Boston refusing to be cowed. Some spectators surged forward toward the danger to apply tourniquets, offer first aid, share blankets, and later to give blood, for the victims.

President Obama followed the crisis from its first moments and came out promptly to caution against fruitless speculation as to the perpetrators as well as solemnly to vow that they will be held accountable. (He has a certain track record in that regard.)

The idea of three dead, several more critically wounded, and over a 100 injured, merely for running in a marathon (often running for charities or victims of other tragedies) is terrible to contemplate. Our hearts are broken for the victims and their family and friends, for the runners who will not run again.

There is negative energy implicit in such a violent event, and there is potential positive energy to be had from the way that we respond to it. To fight our contemporary pathologies, the tragedy has to be turned to empathy and universal compassion rather than to anger and racial profiling. Whatever sick mind dreamed up this act did not manifest the essence of any large group of people. Terrorists and supremacists represent only themselves, and always harm their own ethnic or religious group along with everyone else.

The negative energies were palpable. Fox News contributor Erik Rush tweeted, “Everybody do the National Security Ankle Grab! Let’s bring more Saudis in without screening them! C’mon!” When asked if he was already scapegoating Muslims, he replied, ““Yes, they’re evil. Let’s kill them all.” Challenged on that, he replied, “Sarcasm, idiot!” What would happen, I wonder, if someone sarcastically asked on Twitter why, whenever there is a bombing in the US, one of the suspects everyone has to consider is white people? I did, mischievously and with Mr. Rush in mind, and was told repeatedly that it wasn’t right to tar all members of a group with the brush of a few. They were so unselfconscious that they didn’t seem to realize that this was what was being done to Muslims!

It was easy for jingoists to find Chinese or Arabs on twitter gloating. But I saw much more of this kind of message:

or there was this:

But there were positive energies as well. The Egyptian woman activist Asma’ Mahfouz, who was important in calling for the Tahrir demonstrations that kicked off the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, said that she admired the American sense of deep concern for the welfare of citizens, and the way authorities came out promptly to speak to the incident. She contrasted this situation to that in Egypt, where, she alleged, the authorities have less respect for the value of citizens’ lives. For a young Egyptian revolutionary, America is still an exemplary nation in some regards, and many in the world admire it even in the way it deals with adversity.

Similar sentiments were voiced by the journalist Fatima Naout, who said that when dozens of Egyptians died in a train accident, it took President Morsi 12 hours to come on television, and then he made only a brief statement of less than a minute. She also complained of innocents being arrested for sabotage and ultimately released, while what she called Muslim Brotherhood gangs attacked demonstrators with impunity. She said that the US is a nation of laws and upright judicial procedure, and Egypt still is not.

On the other side of the aisle in Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood members of the Senate (Majlis al-Shura) unhesitatingly condemned the bombings. MP Izz al-Din al-Kumi condemned all violence that harmed individuals of any nationality. He discounted a return to the ‘war on terror’ atmosphere of 9/11, saying that al-Qaeda had suffered too many blows any longer to be a viable organization. Dr. Farid al-Bayyad, another parliamentarian said, “Regardless of our differences with American policy, we roundly condemn these attacks.”

Some Syrians and Iraqis pointed out that many more people died from bombings and other violence in their countries on Monday than did Americans, and that they felt slighted because the major news networks in the West (which are actually global media) more or less ignored their carnage but gave wall to wall coverage of Boston.

Aljazeera English reported on the Iraq bombings, which killed some 46 in several cities, and were likely intended to disrupt next week’s provincial election.

Over the weekend, Syrian regime fighter jets bombed Syrian cities, killing two dozen people, including non-combatants:

What happened in Boston is undeniably important and newsworthy. But so is what happened in Iraq and Syria. It is not the American people’s fault that they have a capitalist news model, where news is often carried on television to sell advertising. The corporations have decided that for the most part, Iraq and Syria aren’t what will attract Nielsen viewers and therefore advertising dollars. Given the global dominance by US news corporations, this decision has an impact on coverage in much of the world.

Here is a video by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) on the dilemma of the over one million displaced Syrians, half of them children:

So I’d like to turn the complaint on its head. Having experienced the shock and grief of the Boston bombings, cannot we in the US empathize more with Iraqi victims and Syrian victims? Compassion for all is the only way to turn such tragedies toward positive energy.

Perhaps some Americans, in this moment of distress, will be willing to be also distressed over the dreadful conditions in which Syrian refugees are living, and will be willing to go to the aid of Oxfam’s Syria appeal. Some of those Syrians living in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey were also hit by shrapnel or lost limbs. Perhaps some of us will donate to them in the name of our own Boston Marathon victims of senseless violence.

Terrorism has no nation or religion. But likewise its victims are human beings, precious human beings, who must be the objects of compassion for us all.

62 Responses

  1. Very nice article & very true. Terrorism has been going on for a long time, too long.
    R.I.P to the dead of all terrorist acts all around the world today.

  2. A very thoughtful and compassionate article. Thank you.

  3. One cannot be “religious” if one is a terrorist — if one gratuitously destroy life, if one spreads hatred.Juan Cole rightly asks whether, having lived such an atrocity, we cannot empathize with the Syrians and Iraqis who are being bombed every day/ Yes, but it does not take such barbaric acts to empathize. The sense of morality is present in each one of us from the time of birth, having emerged through biological evolution over millions of years.

  4. compassion for others is indicative of a level of consciousness .. pretty sure few in america have it, given the 10′s of thousands their representative government kill abroad every decade.

    • “compassion for others is indicative of a level of consciousness .. pretty sure few in america have it”

      What marvelous powers of perception you have, Gregorylent, in your ability to determine the level of compassion and consciousness of various nationalities. To what do you attribute the lack of consciousness and compassion which you detect in Americans, as opposed to other nationalities? Would you say it is inherent in their genetic makeup? Having reached your conclusion that Americans lack compassion, you must have a theory about why: Nature or Nurture? Please enlighten us.

      • @bill,not a problem,it seems clear that a majority of you are supporting your government actions in Iraq,Afganistan,Iran,Syria,Pakistan,North Africa,east Africa…Do you want more examples?

        • “@bill,not a problem,it seems clear that a majority of you are supporting your government actions in Iraq,Afganistan,Iran,Syria,Pakistan,North Africa,east Africa…Do you want more examples?”

          Actually, VOICUM, your glib response of “not a problem” is a problem, in that you have failed to answer my question put to GREGORYLENT. You, like GREGORYLENT, list the reason that you have determined Americans lack consciousness and compassion, as cited in your quote above. But that was not the question. My question is repeated below.

          “To what do you attribute the lack of consciousness and compassion which you detect in Americans, as opposed to other nationalities? Would you say it is inherent in their genetic makeup? Having reached your conclusion that Americans lack compassion, you must have a theory about why: Nature or Nurture? Please enlighten us.”

          Now, let’s try again and see if you can answer the question.

  5. Thank you for this piece, and bringing a new perspective. I wish to “like” the article.

  6. For one who follows the disastrous results of the needless invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, where daily bombings are part of the neocon legacy, I couldn’t help but identify with those war torn citizens who live in fear of bombs being set off in market places as a way of life.

    I don’t know who the coward was that set off the bombs yesterday, but I pray it will not be a Muslim, which would give the neocon warmongers the excuse they need to bomb Iran.

    • One theory being bandied about is that this Boston episode may be the work of a lone extremist – much like Eric Rudolph, who was convicted for a series of attacks and is serving a life sentence in federal prison.

  7. Thank you for your clear voice on this matter. I was also struck with similar thoughts, of this type of publicly aimed violence in a civil society and the destruction of civil relationships in places where this occurs with near normalcy now. The effects deepen into psychological wounds beyond the personal injuries.

    Perhaps, as you say, some Americans will now empathize with those in the midst of these struggles on a national level all over the Middle East. Communities have yet to find the way to shield themselves from this fanatical violent behavior, or to close ranks and care for those displaced and injured.

    Thanks also for the publicity for Oxfam’s global work.

  8. A thoughtful post about this horrible event; but I must say I immediately went to a place of depressed disgust when I consider our reckless actions were responsible in no small part, indeed arguably in toto, for the deaths in Iraq yesterday. And of course there was little or no coverage.

    But your next point leaves me a bit skeptical:

    “It is not the American people’s fault that they have a capitalist news model, where news is often carried on television to sell advertising. The corporations have decided that for the most part, Iraq and Syria aren’t what will attract Nielsen viewers and therefore advertising dollars. Given the global dominance by US news corporations, this decision has an impact on coverage in much of the world.”

    It is easy to scapegoat the media – they have long since morphed into Neil Postman’s prophetically dystopian fourth estate. But isn’t it something deeper in the collective American character? I think of John Tirman’s recent study, The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America’s Wars. As he documents, there has always been little concern about the fate of non-Americans in the violence we visit abroad – unpopular wars are framed in terms of the need to “bring our boys home”, not “end the suffering of innocent ‘other’ civilian nationals”.

    We need to learn about empathy. Until we relinquish our infantile grip on exceptionalism and become a nation that embraces the true values of the equality of human life we espouse, such violence will continue. As of now we don’t know the identity of the perpetrators (foreign or domestic?); nonetheless, set against a backdrop of civilian deaths abroad as a result of American actions that go largely unreported (in e.g., Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan), the violence in Boston yesterday and its wall to wall coverage merely serves to underscore our almost willful lack of empathy towards the rest of the world.

    • The American character?

      Try the human character. Do you think that Russian, Brazilian, Chinese, or Ghanan news media don’t also pay more attention local events than those in other countries?

      You seem to be the one indulging in American Exceptionalism here – just a derogatory variety.

      • I watched the news on Al-Jazeera, RT, BBC, CBC, and the Boston bombing was bigger news than the much worse ones in Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan etc. Somehow Americans always see themselves as innocents, or better yet heroic, thanks to Hollywood indoctrination. There have been 10,000 bombings in Iraq in the last 10 years that would not have occurred if we had not invaded. All of them much worse than the one in Boston. At what pt. does conscience/guilt awaken ?

        • And I’ve seen plenty of American news coverage of bombings in Iraq, Spain, England, and India.

          But thanks for tipping your hand at the end. This isn’t actually about a claim about news coverage. You just an excuse to take a shot at what terrible people Americans are.

      • I guess your point is that we are as bad as everyone else?

        Hint: WE are the only ones we can do anything about, behavior- and mindset-wise, day to day. Of course if our Organs of External Action were not all busy doing Exceptional things to other people, maybe the sum total of discord and conflict and destructive consumption and all that would be a lot smaller than it is. Just a guess, I’m sure you know better…

        It does seem to me that this time, we at least don’t have the Chimp telling us to “go to the mall,” and Cheney and Wolfowitz gloating in the shadows… and there’s actually a sort of net maturity to the commentary (with strident outliers like Westboro and FOX) that says “wait for the investigators to do their jobs.”

        And credit to the various police forces who, along with all the “Red Squad” stuff some of them are up to, ask Occupiers how that has worked, have apparently been pretty successful in detecting and foiling all but a very few (if horrific) episodes of terrorism of all colors and creeds. A lot more successful, it would seem, in most senses us ordinary mopes would understand and recognize, than the whole Global War On Terror (that phrase we can’t say any more because it has become, in Ron Ziegler’s famous formulation, “inoperative”) multi-trillion-dollar machine. But then that’s not really its actual purpose, is it?

        • You make an excellent point about the response, one so obviously sensible that it evades much notice. It is the same response that the Chimp *could* have engaged when the tragedies of New York and Washington DC occurred. So I am encouraged, despite the rhetoric so far, that the authorities are at least publicly not making ready to bomb and invade over there so we freely shop for a major appliance over here.

          A pessimist, I don’t see “us” as capable of sustained critical thinking and coalescence of action to make much of a difference in events and actions. The (very) general media cements this conclusion, and in fact seems to work hard to add rebar to the mix.

          Only one person might set the policy for response, and so far – despite a thousand foibles – Obama might be getting it right.

          But we shall see..

          Now if all the grandstanding, strutting and posturing of various and sundry hacks and clowns in government might cease, it would help us heal. Silence from the likes of Mitch McConnell, as example, would indeed be golden.

        • I guess your point is that we are as bad as everyone else?

          My point is merely to rebut a falsehood – the claim that overemphasizing local news over foreign news is uniquely American. You’re the one who needs to link every observation to a grand theory, JT.

          It does seem to me that this time, we at least don’t have the Chimp telling us to “go to the mall,” and Cheney and Wolfowitz gloating in the shadows… and there’s actually a sort of net maturity to the commentary (with strident outliers like Westboro and FOX) that says “wait for the investigators to do their jobs.”

          Interesting point. I wonder how much that has to do with the pattern set from the White House, which has rather notably shied away from the panic-mongering and chest-beating that characterized the media strategy of the previous occupant, on this occasion and on others. Remember when Obama gave a few subdued remarks from a podium in Brazil before the Libya operation began? They just don’t seem interested in using that microphone to whip people up. Maybe it’s seeping down into the media.

      • While your last point seems vague at best, I would agree that there is indeed something in the human character that makes people extremely callous to the suffering of the other.

        My concern is simply that, as Martin Luther King observed, we are among the greatest purveyors of violence in the world today – and have been for decades with little thought to the consequences of the peoples of the world (which, by the way, does not excuse in any way the same behavior of those others you cite). Enough is enough.

        • I don’t think it’s ‘extreme callousness,’ Tacitus. How many people call City Hall because of a pothole on the next guy’s street?

          There’s certainly a dark side to this tendency to pay closer attention to what’s going on locally than far away, but like any fundamental human drive, it has both positive and negative expressions.

          Thanks for sharing your concern. My concern is that pervasive bias against any group tends to degrade one’s ability to perceive and understand events involving that group. The attribution of universal human shortcomings to one’s selected out-group is a rather common manifestation of prejudice.

  9. Juan: Thank you for this thoughtful post, as ever. As the result of centuries of democratic development in most Western countries we now regard all citizens as equal, and we share in any harm or suffering that befalls any of our fellow-citizens. However, sadly, this feeling of compassion and even adherence to the rule of law seems to stop at our national borders. This point was brought home to me a few years ago by an Afghan friend who lives in England when the war in Afghanistan was still very intense. He said that as a citizen of this country, if the government wished to do anything illegal against him the full force of British law and public sympathy would be behind him and would come to his help. But when he is in Afghanistan, which he visited frequently, he could be killed by a British or an American soldier or by a bomb or by a drone with total impunity.

    Given the fact that now the world is getting so much more interconnected and we are talking about a global village it is time for us to widen our horizons and extend our sympathies not only to our compatriots but also to all our fellow human beings. We should be as affected by the loss of life in Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria, especially as we have been partly responsible for creating the present situation in those countries, as we are about the tragic loss of life in Boston or anywhere else in the United States or Great Britain. The time has come to acknowledge, regardless of our religious or national affiliations, that “the world is one country, and mankind its citizens.”

  10. I hope our government handles this tragedy well. Justice is key but the cynical Machiavellianism philosophy of “You never let a serious crisis go to waste” must be avoided. The American people are tired of war. I sure hope this isn’t used as a pretext for more war in the middle east or elsewhere.

  11. It should increase our sympathy for our victims worldwide, but I assume that line of thought will be systematically ignored in the media.

  12. I cry for the victims of this senseless destructive act in my hometown of Boston, and am proud of the brave empathetic bystanders who gave first aid, and ran into the bomb site, not away from it to help the injured.

    At the same time, I cry for all those who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan which we have ruined with our stupid senseless invasions and occupations, and for the victims of our drone attacks, many of whom are children. A policy of extrajudicial assassination such as ours, which kills innocents in Pakistan and other countries, cannot help but hurt us and our people here, as karma circles around and back at us.

    When will our leaders figure this out? When will they listen to the people?

    • A policy of extrajudicial assassination such as ours, which kills innocents in Pakistan and other countries, cannot help but hurt us and our people here, as karma circles around and back at us.

      That’s an interesting theory. Now here’s one of the Muslim Brotherhood MPs in Egypt:

      MP Izz al-Din al-Kumi condemned all violence that harmed individuals of any nationality. He discounted a return to the ‘war on terror’ atmosphere of 9/11, saying that al-Qaeda had suffered too many blows any longer to be a viable organization.

      I’m rather more inclined to take his words seriously.

      • Yes, Joe — we are all inclined only to credit, or even hear, words that confirm our world view and/or are useful in selling a Narrative…

        Did you happen to drop by that Iraqi restaurant in Lowell that got dissed by “someone” throwing a rock through the front plate glass, and then filled up with US war veterans in a show of common decency? link to usnews.nbcnews.com I know I’m making assumptions on small evidence of whether you are IN that particular Lowell, or just FROM there, et cetera. If you did, or just applauded the sentiment, blessings on you.

  13. “Can the Boston Bombings increase our Sympathy for Iraq and Syria, for all such Victims?”

    No. Absolutely not.

    This bombing will only make our politicians, pundits and radio/TV “hosts” all the more aggressive and stupid. There will be LESS sympathy for ANY foreign deaths.

    The “conservative/religious/right” of America will cry out for MORE foreign deaths, MORE spying, MORE torture…

    Even if this bombing was homegrown, by an American, or by someone of “non-color” (I don’t know, I just started reading about this), America is going to be MORE draconian…

  14. Interesting, just interesting! About the question “Can the Boston Bombings increase our Sympathy for Iraq and Syria, for all such Victims? Hope is the key! Still, people in the Arab world should learn to know any individual’s worth

  15. A welcomed post in a sea of early demands for action and retribution. The US should shift gears and try a policy of empathy and compassion for a while. If it weren’t for the well paid image makers and thought molders operating 24/7 it should have been apparent years ago that America’s COIN operated, full metal jacket whack-a-mole response to global events was completely ineffective and unsuccessful except for wasting vast quantities of money which we don’t have and have passed to our children as debt, or in more accurate terms, economic slavery. China arrives in Africa in suits with handshakes, business deals and financing. The US arrives in dark glasses and full military kit with guns, drones, pollution, an agenda of hunting down and killing people they don’t know or understand, and a firm conviction that somebody with high clearance in Virginia does know everything necessary to order a former teen gaming phenom in a California trailer to push a button and incinerate a ‘local cadre leader’ (and four of his six cipher children) who it turns out later was a respected village elder with an extended family of 115 and who also employed 25 people cutting bananas who supported another 55 family members. The recognition of the magnitude of the social waves resulting from this mudball thrown in the local culture pond, along with hundreds of other US triggered mudball waves– would be clearly visible to Americans if empathy and compassion had any vigorous presence in the modern American soul. But the fact that it isn’t visible suggests a serious breach in the American mentality, which your post targets, and for which no cure is visible on the horizon, most certainly not from government leadership. If America is investing in its future, and is spending a thousand or some other order of magnitude times more dollars on ineffective military gizmos and theories than on education or health, you can be pretty sure that our national future–meaning every single one of us– will be filled and dominated by military waste and ignorance, violent backlash from people who have had it up to here, and increasingly lacking in health or knowledge.

  16. Can the Boston Bombings increase our Sympathy for Iraq and Syria, for all such Victims?

    On the basis of past performance “No”. A far more likely outcome is that an increasingly craven American public will allow the US Government to restrict their liberties further in the interests of “security”.

    Also on the basis of past performance the American public will support any revenge attacks made by the US Government.

    mfi

  17. I live in the Boston area, and find this article a well considered expression, but lacking mention of the Palestinians, whose terrible conditions and horrific history are often cited as the inspiring motive for such tragedies as Boston is suffering.

    I hope the author might include in his thoughts this core point in a future revision and consider the “swamp of hatred and bitterness” (a well-put analog of George Galloway) from which these tragedies seem to arise.

    The author mentions the poor response of Egypt when its own citizens were maimed. It should be noted that the corrupt kings and dictators, many sanctioned and funded by the US and the UK, have thrived for quite some time and continue onward. There is abundant evidence that Western policies and politics in the Arab world are wholly defective, yet these remain unchanged. These policies have an effect upon the lives of others, and on our lives in the West, too. Governments should listen and respond appropriately, even if it means reversing policy. If the trade is between saving face and saving lives, and particularly the lives are our own, I should think we have a stake in the outcome and a say in the matter.

    It seems the only functioning democracies may be Israel (albeit a military-based democracy), and by some irony Syria, IRAN, and possibly – if they get it together – Egypt. The IRAQ regime is a manufactured sectarian mess, all the more to the point of our poor meddling.

    So, when will we ever learn?

    • “….lacking mention of the Palestinians….”

      Where was the Bush administration when hundreds of innocent Gazan children were being killed in Operation Cast Lead?

      Where was Obama and U.S. Congress when the 462-page Goldstone Commission report was issued by the United Nations finding credible proof of war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Israel Defense Forces in that operation? Some Congressmen were trying to find ways to debunk the report even though Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued similar findings.

      Israel is not a “democracy” – it has never had a constitution and its 21% Arab population has been de facto discriminated against since its inception; Arabs under occupation in the Territories live under martial law at the direction of the Civil Administration.

  18. MP Izz al-Din al-Kumi condemned all violence that harmed individuals of any nationality. He discounted a return to the ‘war on terror’ atmosphere of 9/11, saying that al-Qaeda had suffered too many blows any longer to be a viable organization.

    And since we are all opposed to terrorist attacks like these, we can all agree that such “blows” amount to a positive good, right?

      • The destruction, yes.

        Oddly enough, there are those who keep asserting that the “blows” that have so effectively rendered al Qaeda no longer “a viable organization” have actually served to increase the terror threat.

        I think it’s time to put that theory to rest, alongside “terrorism is caused by poverty.”

        • Yes, the blows have been very effective.
          And the drone killings we continue to do are just for fun, right?

        • Both observations are spot-on, Joe.

          It is ironic that those in the region who assert that the “blows” (drone attacks) have effectively rendered Al-Qaeda “no longer a viable organization” are at odds with those in our commentariat who are ideologically driven to continually repeat the mantra that our counter-terrorism effort has increased the terrorist threat. But then, “there are none so blind…”.

          And the theory that terrorism is caused by poverty is, was, and always has been nonsense cooked up in the halls of academe by those with little experience in how ideology and religion drives true believers. History teaches otherwise, from the French “Reign of Terror” to 19th century Russians such as Bakunin and Nechayev, to the 20th century terrorism of Lenin and Stalin, and on to Al-Qaeda and its affiliated organizations.

  19. Some of these comments seem to be blaming all of the violence in Iraq and Afghanistan on America, which is unfair as some of it is not caused by the invasion of those countries but has been going on for centuries. Regardless, many Americans already feel sympathy for the innocents caught up in the violence everywhere always. No matter where it happens. Unfortunately, the louder voices are sometimes the more ignorant ones who are shouting over the voices of reason or the voices of those who are crying for all.

  20. Unfortunately, the people who should read this, won’t.

  21. Whatever one says about this bombing, its nothing compared to the mayhem and murder of men, women and kids by American bombs and drones. America has killed thousands of innocent civilians in Iraq, Libya Afghanistan and now getting involved in Syria. The Americans will no doubt go on a killing spree in Iran soon and we stupid British will follow along in their wake.

    • There is one interesting comparison. It costs the United States government tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars to kill and maim dozens or a hundred or so people with a drone, but some loner or a small cell of people could make a similar score in Boston for just a hundred or so bucks. More if plane tickets were involved. At that rate a modestly funded group could drive the US eventually to bankruptcy before it does so on its own with its pursuit of militarism.

  22. The Boston Marathon bombings, as horrific as they were to most Americans, acually had a death toll far less than the typical terror bombing in Iraq or Israel.

    It was not uncommon to see 10-20 Israeli deaths in a bus bombing during the Second Intifada. The articles citation of 46 Iraqi deaths in recent bombings underscores the extent to which residents of that nation suffered and have suffered during the last few years.

  23. Not one of the commenters including Prof. Cole has called for a change in US foreign policey. Empathy does not heal wounds, reunite families, inprove economic conditions, nor bring back people killed. Empathy is cheap when what is called for is action.

  24. While the victims of terrorist atrocities in Syria and Iraq clearly deserve our sympathies, there are other atrocities closer to home that are also routinely ignored in the media: victims of gun violence. Last weekend, 4 people were shot dead in Chicago alone (and some 20 others were injured). This represents violence on the same scale as the Boston bombings, and it happens every single week. Perhaps these victims are ignored because, like Syrians and Iraqis, poor blacks on the southside of Chicago are viewed as “other” by middle class America.

  25. Note also the NRO-article “Stay out of Syria” by Andrew C. McCarthy who claims that brutal killings were “quotidian” “in their culture” (in Syria).

    link to antifo.wordpress.com

    For some reason McCarthys article is no longer available at NRO, but it can still be found in google cache.

  26. Dear Juan,

    You are a compassionate human, and observe that we should feel sympathy and perhaps solidarity after such heinous acts as the Boston bombings. But your final statement belies the sad impossibility of the cessation of such acts, for the innocent victims are not “objects of compassion” for those who commit them — indeed, they are the targets.

    The War on Terror is certainly not able to prevent such crimes stateside, and may in fact be responsible for stoking the ire of those who already hate Westerners and the U.S. in particular. The act show shows how pitifully unprepared we are to protect ourselves from the thing we have been “fighting against” for over a decade.

    Neither the 3rd Armored Division nor Seal Team 6 can protect us from terrorism, an act which has always been criminal and not military in nature.

  27. The anti-authoritarian solution to prevent terrorist acts against people in the United States is to just quit making enemies in the first place.

    • “The anti-authoritarian solution to prevent terrorist acts against people in the United States is to just quit making enemies in the first place.”

      And those who would make enemies of the United States?

  28. Dear Professor Cole

    A 7.8 Magnitude Earthquake has ocurred in the Iran Pakistan region. Times of India reports that hundreds may be dead.

    link to timesofindia.indiatimes.com

    No tourists or Americans are reported dead. No Western Economic interests are affected. No interest. No airtime.

    • The Washington Post has run three detailed reports of the Iran-Pakistan earthquake over the last several days, EuroFrank. American media, in fact, has covered this tragedy.

  29. Don’t have cable TV, seldom listen to the radio and don’t read newspapers since most American public news media is useless, controlled and propaganda from the corrupt ruling billionaires and their world governments, corporations, Congresses, etc.

    My initial reaction to first hearing about the Boston Bombing here on Informed Comment was that probably most of the “Boston refusing to be cowed” didn’t hesitate to run out and help those injured – unlike at Obama’s drone attacks which often include additional drones to kill those coming to aid innocent bystanders or even those ID’d as unofficial US enemies by the President.

    Everyday in the Middle East there are killings by US forces and drones. The Military Industrial Complex continues to grow and amass more and more wealth and power.

    When will the UN become the peace caretaker of the world instead of the USA? Never as long as the Billionaires control the world governments, the MIC, the Fed/IMF (the banking industry is a Ponzi scheme), the corporations, news media, the food industry, etc.

    Take money, religion and politicians out of politics.

  30. A very humane article.Thanks.Let us all take a further step and act to stop all kilings in all parts of the world.Let us emphasize the fact:we can have peace when we gove nit to others.

  31. The answer to the question seems to be a loud and resounding NO; at least that’s the way it is so long as the NRA and Republicans don’t care about people

  32. I doubt Iraqis are all that concerned about US sympathy or media coverage. Simple comprehension, however, that their entire society was cratered, that the horribly regular bombings are a direct result of the US…

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