Why has the international community not shown heartfelt compassion for those who died in Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq and Saudi Arabia? Why is the same solidarity not extended to these victims as was in Orlando, San Bernardino, Brussels and Paris?
Many Western armchair audiences are psychologically conditioned with almost Pavlovian precision to feel fulfilled with cliched, worn-out assurances from Western politicians while millions of refugees risk life and limb, kith and kin suffering at the abyss of the EU's sealed borders.
The upsurge of anti-minority hate crimes post-Brexit is alarming. Such animosity undermines the West's ethical legitimacy as lesson givers when their own backyards are jam-packed with fascist, far-right fundamentalism. Despite the departure of U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage, he and U.S. Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump have pumped up enough populism to harness hate for generations to come. Assuming, however, that all Brexit Leave campaigners and Trump supporters are bigots is as fatuous as linking all Muslims to fervent fundamentalism. Terrorism has neither religion nor color codes. Timothy McVeigh, Anders Breivik, Dylann Roof and David Koresh were neither black, brown nor Muslim.
Media coverage purposely underplays hate crimes, which is a mutation beyond bias toward pure propaganda. Just imagine, one week of post-Brexit social turmoil and thousands are seeking to leave the U.K., compared to six years of the most macabre modern war in Syria and many still marvel at why Syrians flee their homeland.
Prevailing cliches of "might is right and might is white" ostracizes communities, exacerbating the worst of the extreme right, a political zeitgeist hastening in momentum by preying on primordial prejudice. Such one-sided selective solidarity unleashes more marginalization than any military misadventure of reorganizing maps for regime replacement. Speaking of military misadventures, we should wait and watch if the Chilcot report findings filter out any war criminals.
Unlike the inexpressibly despicable terror attacks in Orlando, San Bernardino, Brussels or Paris, terrorism in Istanbul, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh and Iraq is considered unworthy of week-long investigations by international law enforcement agencies. UEFA, the football organization, even denied a moment of silence for Istanbul`s airport victims.
Social media users portraying pictures of a Turkish, Bangladeshi or Iraqi flag background are rare. Why should the Eiffel Tower not be lit red and white with the Turkish flag? Where are the celebrity tear-jerking tweets about the massacres in Dhaka, Istanbul and Iraq?
Where are the "Je suis Istanbul" or "Je suis Iraq" slogans? When are global leaders congregating in Istanbul, Dhaka and Baghdad for funeral or memorial services? Global human empathy is yet to evolve from half-hearted, stale diplomatic statements.
When a shattering attack like those in Paris or Orlando occurs, the world is mandated to mourn, and rightly so, but when sociopathic suicide bombers blow themselves up in Baghdad, Bardo, Bangladesh, Beirut, Bamako, Ankara or Istanbul, no one flinches and it only receives fleeting news coverage.
The polemicists, armchair activists, champagne socialists, pseudo-intellectuals and opinion leaders have orchestrated to outmaneuver our humane sensibilities by broadcasting naive double-speak: when Westerners are massacred by terrorists it's a tragedy when "they" - Africans, Arabs or Turks - are killed by terrorism, it is an unfortunate but normal by-product of a destabilized region. Who caused that very destabilization in the first place?
Such selective bias is a sweeping generalization about the Arab, African and Muslim worlds and their imperial social dislocation. Such exclusionary orientalist tribalism, an ethno-centric bigoted bias and the ignorance it brews are glaring signs of our moral double-standards.
Millions in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Nigeria, Kenya and Somalia are law-abiding citizens caught in the life-sapping conundrum of daily terror. History shall ultimately spill out the truth, the Chilcot report will publish its findings, but until then let us genuinely empathize with all people, offer them the media coverage they aptly deserve. Some lives should never matter more than others.
Through the years, partly by default and partly by design, there is a morbid hierarchy of valuing lives. The onus is on impartial journalists and inquiring lawyers and activists to remain true to themselves and treat all people as equal rather than a slippery Orwellian some are born more equal than others. Meanwhile, Arabs and Africans are being slaughtered silently, capturing much fewer column space than the most braindead celebrity gossip.
This is neither apologia nor some utopian, pacifist plea toward victimhood, but a realist, calculated paradigm shift to contain terrorism. Minorities are our greatest partners in combating extremism. If we keep remaining dismissively unsympathetic toward them, it will be tougher to overthrow death merchants like DAESH.
To contain radicalization, more objective, balanced and inclusive sympathy and media coverage is needed in which all minorities of all hues and religions remain equal stakeholders.
* Senior consultant and global geo-strategist.
About the author
Freelance writer and international advisor, @OzerKhalid on Twitter