Yesterday I posted about the disaster facing the two million people in Aleppo. The topic seemed worth developing a little, and today The Tyee has published my article Where Did Our Rage Over Syria’s Catastrophe Go? Excerpt:
Whether we lost interest early or late, the civil war has brutalized us as well as the combatants. Now we shrug off the use of chemical weapons that have been anathema for a century, and the prospect of the destruction of two million men, women, and children disturbs us very little.
Almost a year ago we first saw the dreadful image of two-year-old Alan Kurdi dead on a Turkish beach. That tiny tragedy shocked the world, for a while. But the International Organization for Migration tells us that 2,753 others died that year, and another 3,176 so far this year.
Scores of thousands of other refugees remain trapped against national borders, surviving on a fraction of the aid they need. In one trap alone, on the Jordanian border, Doctors Without Borders estimates 60,000 to 100,000 people live without latrines, and reliable food, water, or health care.
Well, tough luck for them. Whatever their troubles, we suffer too. Ours is the terrible affliction of donor fatigue. The death and suffering of strangers just tire us out.
If poison gas doesn’t upset us, and deliberate bombing of hospitals doesn’t upset us, and we’re more concerned about doped-up Russian athletes than healthy Russian fighter pilots, we are indeed afflicted.