Steven Katsineris is displeased at the Western myopia when it comes to the suffering of others. Steven Katsineris is a Melbourne based writer and activist.
Despite my mature age and observing the same thing many times over, I still get deeply upset and enraged at the hypocrisy of some countries and people in the western world when some appalling act of terrorism and the massacre of innocent civilians in some places causes outrage in the west.
Yet depending on the place, nation or race of victims involved in other even more terrible instances these abuses would be partly or completely neglected, receiving little or no attention or publicity and no meaningful action to stop the horrible atrocities.
And at how some people and governments practice a selective compassion and a selective humanity, deeming some brutal war crimes and acts of massive carnage worthy of action, while in other places other blatant injustices are met with silence, fleeting mention, with powerful nations doing virtually nothing to alleviate situations where there is horrific suffering or lift a hand to aid in putting an end to the oppressive conditions, even in cases of extreme injustice and terrible suffering of oppressed peoples.
After all these years I still cannot reconcile myself to this situation and find it incredible that this inequitable state of affairs still exists where in certain conflicts some people’s lives have value and really matter, even when there are very much fewer casualties, while other peoples treatment despite their dire circumstances and suffering considerable and disproportionate carnage, their cries for justice and help are met with silence and inaction.
The recent horrifying terror attacks by Daesh and the resulting civilian casualties should cause outrage. But because this occurred in Paris, affecting an affluent European capital and nation and touched the lives of Europeans it will get substantial media coverage, international support and France and various other Western countries will be compelled to do something in response. Meanwhile other great injustices continue to fester and terrorism, massacres and gross human rights abuses go on being done to other particular peoples without protest, significant action or constructive attempts to resolve these dire situations.
Witness the plight of the Palestinian people after being ethnically cleansed, dispossessed and displaced and since then living the past 67 years in exile or under brutal occupation. Palestinians are the largest and longest suffering group of refugees in the world. There are about 7.2 million Palestinian refugees languishing in camps and settlements in Palestine, surrounding Arab countries and worldwide. Israel has continued to deny Palestinian refugees their right to return to their ancestral towns, villages and homes.
In the occupied Palestinian territory Israeli military repression continues, with land and house seizures, building of illegal Israeli settlements, destruction of homes and villages, mass killings and arrests and blatant violations of Palestinian human, civil, political and national rights. And the crippling Israeli military and economic blockade of Gaza persists inflicting immense suffering on the civilian population. The Palestinians are regularly subject to Israeli army, police and settler terror attacks and massacres committed to evict Palestinians from their homes and land and to stop any resistance.
The prolonged misery and injustice done to the Palestinians is immoral and they deserve real action to enforce a just and viable resolution. But despite hundreds of UN AI and other organizations resolutions condemning Israeli breeches of international law and war crimes, nothing meaningful has happened in the past decades.
Likewise, millions of other dispossessed people are victims of terror, ethnic cleansing and are suffering in similar circumstances, as refugees in exile or living under cruel occupation. The oppressed Kurdish, West Papuans, Sahrawi, Tibetan, Syrian and other peoples deserve the sort of attention, support and compassion given to European victims of vicious and lethal terror attacks.
Extending our humanity to these peoples living in torment, anguish and harsh repression for far too long without the western world taking notice or caring is crucial. These people’s dismal situations require genuine support. Our common humanity demands inclusion and that we be attentive to others in serious distress, act with kindness and righteousness and do something. They cannot be left forgotten and neglected to pitifully suffer in such misery any longer.