It is difficult to reconcile the variance in levels of response, grief and outrage at loss of life in the world, with the causes and extent of that loss. There certainly seems to be no sense of correspondence between the nature of the reasons for death and the numbers killed with the level, length and intensity of the responses to it.
The $$$billions of dollars massive military response by the USA, Australia & other US allies, amounting to a new war in Iraq is probably unprecedented – particularly as it has no hope of succeeding and is more grand-standing than effective and more likely to increase terrorism than stop it – as witness events that have happened since.
The Australian government devoted enormous publicity, public grand-standing and expenditure of funds in searching for the remains of a passenger aircraft that disappeared. Subsequently it put Australian police and defence force personnel lives at risk for the purpose of retrieving body parts from an airliner shot down, in a war zone, over Ukraine. This appalling grand-standing was taken to extreme lengths with military welcomes for the human remains that were repatriated and the crocodile tears of Tony Abbott and others.
Subsequently we have seen responses to the accidental death of a single cricketer that both exceeded that given to our greatest ex Prime Minister and Statesman, Gough Whitlam, and even the responses made to past horrific crimes or loss of life due to natural disaster or accident.
The kidnapping, forced slavery, sexual abuse and killing of girls in Nigeria only really gained publicity because of an individual posting with a twitter hash-tag. Even theen, it seems that the extensive intelligence and military resources of the US, Australia, and all the other nations in the World, including those of the Nigerian government,itself, could not recover those girls and their kidnappers, despite villagers knowing where they were.
The latest savagery of Boko Harum in the slaughter of over 120 innocent students and teachers has received some attention but, in comparison to the death of 12 in Paris, some of whom had been responsible for mocking the founder of a major world faith, the reaction to the Nigerian killings pales into insignificance.
I don’t condone any of these killings. I don’t support violence to solve human problems, issues or disputes. I believe that we should be able to speak freely and not be harassed or worse for expressing our views. However the degree of hysteria and hypocrisy being displayed over death, together with the uneven weight put on some deaths over others is a phenomenon about which we need to be aware and to which we need to give some thought. To me, it seems almost as though we are seeing the beginning of a new industry built around death.
Certainly, in Australia, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has milked these situation for all he’s worth. He has used them in attempts to divert attention from the appalling policies of his government; he has used them in an (unsuccessful) attempt to gain credibility on the world stage; and he has used them to build some credibility at home as a “strong” leader – presumably to cover up his ignorance and inveterate lying to the Australian public and the World.
Unfortunately, as bad as that would anyway be, this is not just a problem in Australia but exists across the world. While aid agencies, relief organisations and charities attempt to deal with the poverty, disease, malnutrition and homelessness of millions across the World with minimal funding and large dependence on the donations of individuals, our governments pour public wealth into war machines, military grand-standing and the “grand-gesture” of impotent international meetings and institutions.
Meanwhile, of the 20,000+ children who DIE EACH DAY of malnutRition or similar, easily preventable, causes barely a whisper is heard. Nor of the conditions in refugee camps or the incarceration of asylum-seekers, the deaths at sea of people fleeing persecution, or the 7000 preventable deaths EACH WEEK of women in childbirth, from lack of adequate hygiene, medical facilities or equipment, or medical care and education.
Surely it is time that DEATH was placed into perspective and that world leaders used intellect and understanding to produce a united and carefully developed approach to solving the ills that underlay these violent attacks on largely innocent and uninvolved civilian citizens simply going about their business.
For most of these horrific crimes are simply symptoms of a world in which justice is too often denied to other than the wealthy or powerful; where a single person’s life can be valued at a million times the worth of another; and where the major motivation for everything from sport to science, appears to be PROFIT and MATERIAL GAIN.
We sadly need a huge injection of the wisdom of philosophers and ethicists into the ranks of our governments and lobby groups if we are not to descend even further into a global mire of horror, distress and a world where none of us can ever feel safe again.