Empathy Gap Of People Towards Terror Attacks
Md. Taqi Yasir
Empathy is the psychological identification of the feelings, attitudes or thoughts of another. It is a relative reaction, by which what we have compassion with is ultimately administered by what and who we most relay towards. If the Western European or North American region is considered, that denotes that we empathize with Paris more than Beirut, and regarding the fact of the recent terror attack, we still empathize with Paris more than Ankara, Turkey.
After the Paris attack in November 2015, many took to social media and various press outlets to decry the unequal reaction by the everyman to Paris versus Beirut. The everyman, especially the North American and European friends on your Facebook feed with a French flag filter over their profile, were labeled as being indifferent to the attacks in Beirut. The capital city of Lebanon was attacked by terrorists the same week as Paris. Facebook was also criticized for not creating a Lebanese flag filter, or a check-in feature similar to the one in Paris for those living in Beirut. This is profoundly ill-advised social justice.
It is far too easy to point the blame squarely with the individual. However, if empathy is governed by relative familiarity, then we cannot expect people to empathize equally — this is what is known in psychology as the empathy gap. Perspective is critical to understanding any chief events and our feedback to it. The Western perspective is one of deeply lopsided portrayal in coverage between MENA i.e Middle East and North African countries and countries like the US or France.
Whether it is through trendy ethnicity or stiff news, Western society would be sturdy pressed to find positive depictions of MENA culture. For the most part, the exposure that does exist is generally restricted to yarn about terrorism, war or sectarian violence. MENA settings are often used in biased thriller or surveillance dramas as exotic locales, edging the people from there as third world for granted alongside their lofty tech and mainly white idols. When MENA is presented in a positive light, the story often takes place centuries ago and stars white people in the roles of ethnic, non-white natives. Examples may include Gods of Egypt or Exodus: Gods and Kings.
So when a bomb rips through a crowded transit center in Ankara, most of the people in the West react as if this is to be estimated. Meanwhile, when deaths happen in Paris due to terrorism, we respond with outrage, disdain and deep empathy and compassion for the French people. We create deference for months, wondering how this could happen in a mostly white and a secularly safest country of the world. Meanwhile Beirut and Turkey fall to a matter of disintegration and beyond in western local papers with a few folks left to generate their own MENA flag filters in Photoshop.