17 4 / 2013
To people decrying tragedy-comparing: while it may be true that “human suffering is human suffering”, there are clear disparities to the value attached to different people’s lives by the global public. The media treats death around the world differently: if you die in an ‘unexpected’ manner in a ‘safe’ part of the world, your death will receive narrative attention and contextualisation. Tough nuts if otherwise. It’s naive to pretend that all experiences of human suffering are the same; and it would diminish the lives of those of us who have had to live as suspects, or targets, or be disenfranchised and stateless.
All tragedies are not created the same. They definitely aren’t discursively shaped (and reshaped) the same. When the Muslim world has to pre-emptively dissociate Islam from the explosions; when a bloodied victim running away from the blasts is thought to be a suspect because of his race and is tackled, detained and handed over to authorities, there is no way to treat what happened as simply the suffering of those who were injured/killed by the bombs.