Two days ago, the Iraqi capital of Baghdad experienced the worst bombing in at least a decade. The latest news reports 250 people are dead, with the death toll still expected to rise.
The explosion happened in the Karrada district a popular place to shop, filled with families who were marking the end of Ramadan. A lorry filled with explosives was detonated shortly after midnight on Sunday in the heavily populated Hadi Center. The area is also known for being a Shite Muslim community. Unsurprisingly, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. The bombing comes shortly after U.S. forces recaptured the city of Fallujah from ISIS’ hands.
An early report stated that 165 people had died, with several others injured. However, the destruction, fire, and aftermath of the bombing was so extensive, that new information only recently became available.
But what has been so startling, is the lack of news or outpouring of grief and outrage regarding the bombing. With recent similar tragedies in Paris, Belgium, San Bernadino, and Orlando, millions were quick to express shock, hurt, and anger over what happened. And rightfully so.
So where is the reaction regarding what’s happened in Baghdad? Why aren’t we changing our pictures, tweeting our grief, or clamoring for change?
It’s time to search our hearts and minds and ask ourselves a few honest questions as members of the Western world. How do we perceive the Middle East? Have we as a Western society decided that the unrest and treachery that happens in countries like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Iran so commonplace that these kinds of events are not “news”? Is there a subtle mindset that sees these human lives as having less worth than those of Western civilization? Or are we fatigued by the amount of violence, hatred, and destruction?
I ask you because these are questions I am asking myself. It’s a time of examining my own attitudes towards what happens around the world. Do I really care? Am I really watching what’s happening around me? If I consider myself pro-life, shouldn’t I be just as horrified at the loss of 250 lives as I am at the loss of 49, 23, or one? The intellectual answer is yes. The practical answer of how this is expressed is where I still struggle.
I understand that compassion fatigue is a real thing and that we cannot be upset or outraged by everything that happens. However, the Middle East continues to be a place of extreme violence and persecution. As these events happen, and the lives of people are extinguished as if they were nothing, we cannot be blind to it. If anything, we must intercede for our brothers and sisters in the Christian faith as they face unprecedented violence and persecution. We must pray for the Muslim communities being destroyed at the hands of their countrymen. And we must pray to have the heart of Jesus for the brokenhearted, the needy, the poor, the displaced, the persecuted, the orphaned and the abandoned.
The Lord’s heart is for these people. His eye is not far from them. May we plead their case, their great need and their brokenheartedness before him:
“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
I will now arise,” says the Lord
“I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”
Psalm 12:5 (ESV)