When terrorists attacked Paris in November, the whole world mourned, and Facebook profiles were blanketed with French flags. More recently, terrorists hit Orlando, and again there was international grieving.
Tuesday’s massacre that killed 42 and wounded 239 is barely talked about. Two days later, it’s almost old news, and some are noticing the global snub:
Why are we like this? Why do we seem to care more about French and Floridian deaths than Turkish deaths?
I can think of three possible reasons:
1. Islamophobia: Since Turkey is mostly Muslim, and since radical Islam is responsible for so much global carnage, we’re simply too afraid to care what happens to Muslims.
2. Numbness: President Obama has been saying for a while now that America has grown numb to mass shootings:
Kansas Mass Shooting, February 26, 2016: “These acts may not dominate news today, but… we cannot become numb to this.”
Oregon Mass Shooting, October 1, 2015: “The reporting is routine… we’ve become numb to this.”
3. Ethnocentricity: We view our world as the center of the world. We care most about people who are most like us.
Which of the three do you think it is?
In my opinion, it’s the last. Sure, there are some Islamophobes, but even the
Islamophobe-phobes (those who are terrified of being terrified of Islam, and thus accuse everyone else of being Islamophobe) didn’t report much on the Turkish bombings.
And I agree with Obama that in some measure, we’ve become numb to this. But Orlando and Paris shootings were still jarring to most, in a way that Turkey was not.
Ethnocentricy is natural. It’s an extension of our innate me-centeredness, only expanded to include my culture.
I hate to confess, but this tragedy brought out my own ethonocentricity. I found myself thinking a lot more about Paris and Orlando than I have been about Turkey.
As Americans, we grow up dreaming of Disney World and the Eiffel Tower, not Ankara and Istanbul.
Christians should feel convicted by how much less we care about Turkish Muslims dying than other people dying. The love of God is a global love. It pokes holes in our ethnocentricity, and it reveals our inconsistencies.
Jesus didn’t just die for Westerners (He Himself was Eastern, for that matter).
He died for the sins of Turks and Floridians, Muslims and Gays, Conservatives and Liberals.
If “God so loved the world…” then so should we.