February 28, 2006

Rambo is my mailman

Today, I was quickly perusing over the daily news headlines on my Google Personalized homepage, when I misread two adjacent headlines and thought I saw something about a bombing in Madrid killing 41 people. I did a doubletake, worried that Spain had been targetted again. I then realized it was Iraq, and went back to going about my business.

A minute later, I realized how indicative my behaviour was of the typical, indifferent Westerner. Hearing about bombings and deaths have become so commonplace in Iraq that it hardly catches our attention anymore. Each of those victims must have a family; for each of those families, they will always remember that day when a loved one - perhaps a father, perhaps a daughter, maybe a sister - left this world forever. They will cry uncontrollably, while others will try to comfort them to no avail. While these events may hardly catch our attention now, they are changing the lives - nay, destroying the lives of thousands. The losses can never be recovered.

Had it happened in Europe or Canada, it would dominate headlines for weeks and months. The date would become synonymous with the event, as if everything else on that day stood still watching tragedy unfold in our world. Talk shows and newspaper columnists would keep putting the same question forth, how could this happen to us?

Instead, the question must be raised, that how have we become so indifferent?


  1. Faraz, thanks for that post. You're not alone; I think almost everyone has become oblivious to things that happen abroad.

    It's about living in a society that takes individualism to an extreme. People don't care about anything outside of themselves or their material posessions.

    That's the challenge of being Muslim. It's so easy to forget people who are so far away (and for that matter, those who are close!). But we have to feel the pain of every part of the ummah. It may be difficult, but it can be done. InshaAllah.

  2. Assalam-oAlaikum

    We have to face the truth. We have become too indifferent to care...

    And I agree with Asma that people have become too absorbed in material possessions, movie stars to care.Life is a fairy tale for them and they don't care if its not for the rest of the people.
    Everyone has adopted a policy of "Every person for himself"

    And its just normal, everyday routine to hear about bombs going off in Iraq or somewhere else.

    Just keep praying for them...Its our prayers that can really reach out to them.

  3. Recently I was looking through a notebook that I use at work to track my ‘to dos’. Below February 28, I saw a ‘to do’ that I had not got around to yet (not an uncommon event for me):

    o Respond to Rambo is my mailman

    I reckoned that now that youknowhowwedo.com was live it was time to Carpé the Diem.

    Faraz notes that the reaction to reading about 41 deaths is dependant upon where the deaths took place. This point struck a cord for me – I could relate to what Faraz was describing, and it made me feel upset. Though, in defense of Westerners, I do not think that his or my response to tragic news in far off lands is necessarily related to our position on the Globe, and our relatively peaceful lives.

    I think it is an unfortunate human condition.

    Faraz states, “…the question must be raised, that how have we become so indifferent?

    I ask in turn, “How can we teach ourselves to care?”