I was recently told the story of someone who works in a corporate environment. One September the person chairing a meeting suggested a minute silence to show respect for those who died in the World Trade Centre collapse. The someone whom the story was about questioned the suggestion and why the same hadn’t been suggested for the victims of the ‘Shock & Awe’ bombing of Baghdad. (Actually he might not have said Baghdad, but there’s a long list of places and times to choose from in a previous post) The reaction was one you might imagine, and probably affected his career prospects with that company.
The point I’m trying make here is that, generally speaking, people in the US and UK have a very limited reaction, if any at all, to news of deaths in the Middle East, unless of course those deaths happen to be the death of Westerners. As with nearly a hundred percent of adult behaviour, programmed and conditioned usually early in life, this lack of reaction is a conditioned response too. As pointed out in Psyclone:
‘In a way it’s linked to what I just said. As we grow up we’re infected by the memes of the society we grow up in. Language, education, religion, the media, all program our minds in specific ways and seriously affect the way we see the world and ourselves...’
The excellent documentary Reel Bad Arabs – How Hollywood Vilifies a People from the book of the same title by Jack Shaheen, reveals an entrenched and damaging bias in the media that could be the reason behind the lack of empathy described earlier.