Selective Sympathy

The current refugee crisis

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The notion of sympathy with a certain individual, group, belief or ideology has been able to shift the outcome of many crisis and conflicts, as the global opinion mandated for affirmative action to be taken in certain cases for resolution. However, the same sense of sympathy that applies to certain cases has marginalized and sidelined many victims of horrendous crimes, which has happened or still happening. Therefore, it is witnessed that certain victims are prioritized and sanctioned due to political reasons, while other are left to suffer continuously under the blade of whomever has oppressed them. The recent case of selective sympathy was witnessed in the past weeks, during the current refugee crisis in the Middle East, when a Syrian-Kurdish child was found drowned and dead on the shore of a Turkish town. Indeed, the picture of that child was heartbreaking, as he summarized the entire afflictions and sufferings of Middle Eastern children, and the amount of violence they have been subjected to. The story of that boy was even more heartbreaking, when news headlines announced that the boy’s mother and older brother had been drowned and dead as well, during their attempt to escape the deadly war in Syria and find safety in Europe.

The global headlines made the story of that Syrian child, as the face of the refugee crisis, which placed enormous pressure on European and other western states to take imminent actions to end the crisis. Ultimately, Germany decided to take thousands of those refugees and other state like Austria, Hungary, Italy and other European states started taken lesser numbers, due to the public pressure.

Primarily, many observers believe the crisis could have been evaded, and none of the current dilemmas were supposed to even happen, as a coordinated political solution to the Syrian crisis, would have resolved the Syrian conflict. In addition, the resolution of the Syrian conflict would have been affected the Iraqi political scenario as well, as ISIS and other terrorist groups would have never been able to mobilize their fighters easily in and out of Syria.

Nevertheless, now that the crisis has happened and millions have been displaced and dislodged, it would primarily be the responsibility of other Muslim countries to host the refugees. It is not a secret that some of the richest countries in the world are in the Middle East, which raises a question that what have they not accepted any of those refugees. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who were the primary supporters of many armed rebels in Syria, have not accepted one refugee in their lands, and other states like Kuwait, UAE have acted as no crisis even exists.

However, the question that truly requires the attention of all observers and the global masses, is the intention behind creating the selective sympathy that is witnessed regarding certain cases. Even though, the Syrian child’s photo brought tears to the eyes of many people, including state leaders, it must be asked: why are other crisis and cases of child abuses and victimization are not being considered as important? For instance, wasn’t there another children in the same boat that carried the Syrian child and his family? An Iraqi woman appeared on the National TV and narrated how her two children drowned in that boat as well, as the group guide fled and let them alone before the massive sea waves.

The Iraqi scene is filled daily with pictures of students and innocent children being the victims of explosions, genocides and organized crime, as the Iraqi government stays motionless and unable to resolve the matters. The so-called Arab coalition to retrieve Political Legitimacy in Yemen, has been bombing the Yemeni cities for the past few months, and thousands have been killed in those strikes. Among the victims of those strikes are hundreds of innocent children, as one picture showed a Yemeni child losing his skin due to use of prohibited weapons. Another Yemeni child was buried under her house for days, and after few days she was found alive, but taking her out of the wreckage was not possible, therefore, she died before the rescuers, as they could not do anything for her. In addition, the current bombing campaign against Yemen is being supported by majority of western states, which contradicts the notion of acting humanly with the current refugee crisis.

The other victims, who require and deserve immediate attention are the people of Bahrain, as hundreds of women, minors and children are persecuted and victimized daily by the Bahraini regime. There are numerous footages on YouTube and other sites, where Bahraini women and children are being beaten or humiliated by the Bahraini authorities. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other organizations have recorded hundreds of similar cases in that country, which are not receiving any media coverage or public attention.

Therefore, it is a moral obligation upon any free soul to sympathize with these victims and use any possible peaceful and legit mean to help them regain their dignity and the honorable life they deserve. The notion of selective sympathy itself, is a kind of oppression against all of those, who are not being considered as victims and sympathized with.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *