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?