The Toxicity of Selective Outrage and Mourning: A Disease of Our Current Day

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Flag of Belgium

While we mourn with the families of the terrible attacks in Brussels, let us ask ourselves: What is the source of our empathy? Are we troubled because of the bitter and heart-wrenching reality of the senseless theft of innocent lives? Or does our disturbance stem from elsewhere? Months ago the claims of "Je suis Charlie" flooded both the real and virtual world. Today, we are Brussels, but I ask: Who is Ankara? Who is Istanbul? Who is Somalia? Who is Gaza? Who is Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Kenya, Nigeria? Who is Tunisia, Jakarta, Ivory Coast and Mali? Who stands representative and in solidarity with all the other unwarranted victims of similar tragedies? Who truly stands up for unconditional empathy and mourning? These are questions we must ask ourselves in order to analyze the sincerity of our compassion, anger and empathy.

The disproportionality of the public outrage we see is the greatest testament to the underlying racism and hatred rooted in our global society. How could one champion the idea of humanity, all the while picking and choosing which lives are considered worthy of mourning and which are worthy of violence. I tell you, it is absolutely impossible. Quite frankly, the utter hypocrisy of this notion of selective outrage is vile and a slap in the face of thinking individuals.

Dear selective mourners:

You are not outraged at the death of innocent civilians, you are in fact bothered and angered at the death of only those you deem worthy of life. Those who you feel you have some sort of allegiance to or can more readily relate to. You do not truly care. Your regard for human life is classified in whom you depict as human. This frighteningly fascist, neo-Nazi idealism of selective outrage and mourning is toxic and detrimental to our communities and the greater global society. It challenges the idea of equality in the value of human life, and attempts to shape it to ever-changing standards. It promotes segregation over unity, general disregard over compassion and hate over love. It challenges fundamental values of humanity. Selective outrage is born from the ideas of segregation and the delusions of superiority. The "us vs them' narrative oozes from its very foundation. We need to be careful not to tread its path lest we become depraved and lose the ability of our hearts to recognize and resonate with the victims of suffering and oppression worldwide. More importantly, so we do not lose the capability to stand up for injustice unconditionally.

Since the attacks in Brussels, we have once again come to see the presidential candidates, one after another, deliberately insistent in their manipulation of public tragedies for political gain. Here's what Cruz, Clinton and Trump had to say:

Cue the strategic incite of fear mongering tactics by manipulative politicians:

"We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized."

"When I was secretary of State we often had some difficulty with our European friends because they were reluctant to impose the kinds of strict standards we were looking for. That, after Paris, has changed."

and finally Donald Trump:

"I've been talking about this for a long time, and look at Brussels."

"You look at what just took place in Brussels, and that's peanuts compared to what's going to happen"

This rhetoric -- as history has so proved -- is a deliberate fuel fed to racists and xenophobes who will undoubtedly clash back with more violence. It plays to the inherent and irrational fears that are already prolific throughout the Western world in regards to Islam and the intentions of Muslims. I am terrified for the Muslims and "Muslim passing individuals" who will more than likely be the secondary victims of these attacks. I am petrified for this repeat in history. I am in firm and unwavering solidarity with those who refuse to buckle under the overwhelming pressure of the looming demand for public condemnation of such tragedies -- tragedies they are in no way a part of. The Muslim community refuses to stand idly by and allow our religion to become the scapegoat of these terrorist attacks. We should not have to apologize for actions we have not committed and we will certainly not sit back and bear the responsibility of injustices falsely claimed in the name our religion. The world at large needs to come together in moments like these instead of actively placing partitions between one another. We are saddened and outraged by the attacks made against humanity, those that we come to know of by way of mainstream media and those that are too often silenced by the very same people. Our hearts cry out for injustice; wherever it may be.

The validation of one's humanity does truly lie in universal and unconditional empathy, solidarity and compassion. Our prayers are with the families of victims.

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