In the wake of the recent bombings in Boston, it seems like most Americans are up in arms looking for a way to grieve and find closure. There have been two common controversial responses to the attack: either you hate everyone who you think is responsible (Arabs and North Koreans) or you think that Americans who mourn for Boston ought to mourn for casualties of American drones instead. While both of these responses are understandable, they’re not helping the situation, nor are they fair to the victims.
At the risk of sounding juvenile, my response to the situation is that it sucks. It sucks that people everywhere — on every continent — are capable of horrible things. It sucks that human lives were lost. It sucks that human lives are lost daily. But now isn’t the time for us to grieve competitively. It seems like everyone is so eager to claim that their grief is the worst grief, which, if you think about it, is ridiculous. Human life is human life. Nobody should ever have the audacity to claim that their tragedy is the worst tragedy of all time. Sure, the genocide in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo was bad, but the Holocaust was the worst genocide of all time, right? Or sure the Boston bombing was a tragedy, but way more people are killed in drone strikes, right? Wrong — everyone involved suffers. Their suffering isn’t less than ours and our suffering won’t be ended by killing innocent civilians. An eye for an eye and what not.
There is a place and time for politics, and that time could very well be right now but there is a fine line between arguing politics and devaluing the suffering of anyone anywhere. Instead of calling the American mourners hypocrites because they fund drone strikes of thousands, let’s try and show them how much grief they share with families in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Instead of claiming that all Arabs and North Koreans should be obliterated, let’s say that anyone who squanders human life should face consequences for their actions. Instead of posting angry rants to Facebook, tweeting xenophobically, or reblogging the most graphic and violent pictures we can find, how about we engage in some sensitive and constructive discourse. Here .. I’ll get us started.
The bombing in Boston was a tragedy, and we hope the victims’ families are coping with their loss. US-sanctioned drones cause tragedies daily, and we hope the victims’ families are coping with their loss. It’s about time we, as a global community, start valuing human life and quit squandering resources on making killing more efficient. Also, we should make it impossible for people to kill other people unless they’re face to face — let’s quit dehumanizing the people we’re killing. I say we because our money is funding the death of others, just like other countries’ taxes are funding the death of our soldiers.
Now it’s your turn — what can you add to this conversation?
Meghji is a member of the class of 2015.