Many Americans live in a sort of willfully blind state. We float delicately above the horrors that the rest of the world faces on a daily basis. As long as we’re safe inside the borders of the United States, what happens on the outside is somehow less than tragic. To be fair, I’m also guilty of mentally distancing myself from the brutality of the world.
When a terrorist murders 49 Americans, it’s splashed across every news network, and every website; Twitter overflows with hashtag sympathy, and Facebook profile pictures change colors to show solidarity with the dead and grieving. Even when terror strikes in Europe, we are openly heartbroken. After the Paris attack, my Facebook feed was littered with images of the French flag for weeks.
But after Sunday morning’s attack on Baghdad–nothing. I didn’t see anyone on Facebook sharing the story, I didn’t see anyone expressing grief at the loss of so many people, I didn’t see profile pictures overlaid with the tricolor flag of Iraq. The only reason I knew what happened is because I’m a news junkie.
Early Sunday morning, a militant Islamic terrorist affiliated with ISIS detonated a truck bomb in the Karrada neighborhood of Baghdad, killing at least 215 people. Of the victims, at least two-dozen were children.
ISIS claims they were specifically targeting Shiite Muslims, whom they see as apostates.
According to The Washington Post, many who died weren’t killed by the initial blast, but were burned to death, or suffocated in the fire that engulfed nearby shopping centers as a result of the bomb. CNN reports that at least 80 bodies are so badly burned, they’ll have to be identified using DNA testing.
This attack is being called Iraq’s worst single bombing in a decade, and the death toll is expected to rise.
CNN took drone footage of the area in which the attack took place to show just how catastrophic the damage was:
This was one of the most vicious attacks ever committed by Islamic State militants. Hundreds were brutally murdered in the name of radical Islam.
This isn’t something that can be ignored when it’s not happening in America or Europe. This is a pervasive and cancerous ideology that has consumed thousands.
— francesca recchia (@kiccovich) July 5, 2016
The Islamic State has a mission. They will convert or kill everyone who is not like them. Male or female, gay or straight, white or black, Christian or Jew–even Muslims who don’t subscribe to their specific doctrine–are to be killed in the name of Allah.
Radical Islam is a disease that can’t be cured if we don’t understand it. Just as we identify cancer, and target it, we must identify radical Islam, and target it. We don’t treat leukemia with penicillin. In the same way, we can’t take a generalized approach to this very specific, and easily identifiable terror.
— Nizar Dwaik (@dwaiknizar) July 5, 2016
Furthermore, we aren’t the only victims of radical Islam. Far from it. It’s easy to be heartbroken when people like us become victims of this sick ideology, but we’re not alone in the fight. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of others who grieve just as we do when their loved ones are taken from them. Fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters–human beings were living, breathing, talking, and laughing one minute, and gone the next in a flash of light.
When you think of Orlando, think of Baghdad. When you think of Paris, think of Istanbul. When you think of the enemy, remember who our allies are, and grieve for them all the same.