All the world’s a stage. We are all merely players. In our time, we play many parts. Right now, the city of Raqqa is playing the part of whipping boy for the world’s most powerful men. When Vladimir Putin needs to show strength after ISIS bombs a plane, Russia bombs Raqqa. When Francois Hollande needs to show strength after the attacks in Paris, France bombs Raqqa. Meanwhile, ISIS knows full well the role of Raqqa, and cleared out of the targeted areas before the airstrikes came. The French are hitting abandoned ISIS bases while the Russians hit bridges, stadiums, clinics and hospitals.
Meanwhile our media has it’s part to play. NPR had a piece this morning that discussed the disparity of news reporting between the Paris attacks and the attacks in Beirut. Eleven stories talked about Paris this morning, there were no further stories about Beirut. None was needed, as NPR pointed out the newsworthiness of the Beirut story is tempered by the fact that we expect it there, we don’t expect it in Paris.
If death becomes less newsworthy when it becomes expected, it is probably telling that neither this morning’s show nor yesterday’s talked about last weekends mass shooting in Texas. 6 campers were shot and killed. The campers have moved into their final part; mere oblivion. Their death is yet another shooting and is not even newsworthy.
We come now to the politicians. The merchants of fear are playing their part. They would have us fear refugees, the Trojan Horse that would bring violence to our country. The violence is already here. We have 5% of the world’s population, and 31% of the world’s mass shootings. With 190,000 murders since 9/11 we have a history of violence that we are unwilling to discuss least we be forced to make uncomfortable decisions as a society. Instead, they expect us to play the part of the coward who is afraid to face our own demons. They would rather us be interested in facing the threat posed by fleeing refugees.
We’ve yet to decide what part we will play.