Over 200 people are dead in the most recent attack by Isis, including 25 children. The bombing happened in a busy city center, targeting families out to celebrate a national holiday, and the outcry has been: muted.
The ‘share’ buttons on news pieces covering the situation have gone unclicked, hashtags unused, and waves of silence have swept across the western world in response.
“We call it the Baghdad Blind Spot,” says sociologist and activist Rick Fulman, discussing the absence of significant reaction to the horrifying event. “Or Somalian Skim. Or Pakistani Page Turn. It’s well known that the majority of people in the western world routinely skip news whose headlines refer to occurrences, particularly violent ones, in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.
He went on to theorize that this is because many people have been enured by the sheer number of terrible events in these areas, as well as general feelings of removal, and despair that the underlying causes are too intractable for them to get involved.
Don Drummond, a Windsor, Ontario taxi driver carefully parses his words on the subject while easing an outdated sedan through traffic. “It’s not that I don’t care. But if I read about everything that happened in Baghdad, I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed. Am I happy about that? No, I feel bad. But I need to be able to get out of bed.”
When we relate this anecdote to Fulman he says he empathizes with this reaction, before pointing out that it does beg the question of just how the people actually living there are getting out of bed. “And while it may not create an immediate solution to their problems, wouldn’t it send a better message than silence, to say that we #standwith them too?”
*Edited: 1254 UTC, 4-Jul to update the number of fatalities resulting from this incident.