This archived article was written by: Kira Tadehara
We stand tall for Brussels. We change our faces to the French Flag. We weep for the lives of innocents lost in a war we don’t understand. And yet, we don’t weep for Lahor, we don’t even hear about Lahor. We don’t weep because we somehow comprehend that war in the Middle East is “inevitable,” that it’s been going on “for hundreds of years. They are used to the constant onslaught of death.” I’m sure it’s safe to say most of us don’t even know where Lahor is or even the grand extent of their rich and beautiful history. We don’t change our profile pictures to the flag of Turkey, we don’t stand tall for the children drowned at sea fleeing the very forces of death that touched Brussels and Paris, we don’t weep for the people of Syria. Why is it that we are selective with our tears when it comes to death? Don’t #AllLivesMatter?
Yes, I stand tall for Brussels. Yes, my heart is draped in the French flag. Yes, I weep for every innocent life taken by a lost soul. But mostly I stand in solidarity with those Daesh murders we never seem to mention; I stand in solidarity for Istanbul, Ankara, Beruit, Tahran, Mosul, Yemen, Russia, Nigeria, Algeria, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jakarta, Egypt, Lebanon. If #AllLivesMatter, why are we reluctant to talk about all lives lost? Is it because we see a (nonexistent) difference between us? Because they should be “used to” the death and violence? We look through a list of white, Christian, Western and then we check a box marked “other” and then refuse to weep. The deaths no one talks about that we choose to ignore hold the same weight as the deaths where we create viral hashtags and transparent filters. These same deaths are still valid and heart wrenching and an absolute travesty as the next death, but why are their deaths not deemed worthy for our broken hearts?
It goes far beyond what we feel for our Western allies. We persecute the majority of refugees and Muslims and Middle Eastern friends for the act of few that feel the exact same pains we do. Why, why, why do we blame Muslims for not being able to control a massive, violent organization? Why, why, why do we blame refugees for fleeing the very forces that are blowing up Brussels? Why, why, why?
I know the answer to those questions: we are uniformed and scared. Our Muslim brothers and sisters are equally as scared of Daesh (ISIS) as we are, if not more, yet they know that ordinary Muslims are not the problem. We take our collective anger out on them. Not only do they fight that war, they fight the extra burden we place upon them with our collective anger. Whenever an act of terror happens, we expect Muslims to stand up and clearly disassociate themselves. It’s rather interesting that whenever a US-led missile strikes a school or a hospital, we are never pressured to stand up and say, “Not us!” So why do we put that same pressure on our Muslim allies, and why don’t we mourn for the same people we helped kill?
Rest in power to all those harmed by hatred.