Today is the anniversary of when the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus was established in 1983. As part of the celebrations, the Turkish Stars acrobatic team from the Turkish Air Force has been visiting North Cyprus performing fly-pasts and acrobatics as part of the celebrations.
They’ve been here before and the deafening roar of the jet as they fly over is awesome. the earth literally shakes. Two flew over our apartment this afternoon so low you felt like ducking.
The roar of the jets is, quite frankly, terrifying. To see them approaching where we live so low in the sky you think they’re going to hit the building is to get some idea of what people in other lands suffer and endure as other jet planes fly over with bombs. I often think about what it must be like to be in a war zone – whether it’s Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Palestinian territory or Pakistan – when these jets appear in the sky to drop bombs not messages of goodwill as happens here where I live.
I thought of this on reading about the dreadful loss of life in Paris. Yet when we in the West get bombed or killed, the numbers are relatively low – 12 killed at Charlie Hebdo, 4 in a French Supermarket, 52 killed in the London Tube & bus bombings, 129 and maybe more in the latest Paris massacre. Yes, I know close to 3,000 died in the Twin Towers disaster, but since then tens of thousands have died in Iraq in the Pandora’s box of mayhem and slaughter that opened up after the illegal US invasion of that country.
On Thursday, the day before the Paris massacre, 147 people were killed in a terrorist attack on Garissa University in Kenya and, in Beirut, a bomb went off on the day before the Paris killings which left 48 dead. Israeli armed forces and settlers continue to kill and wound Palestinians with impunity. Car bombs are almost routine in Iraqi cities. But #prayforbeirut or #prayforkenya or Pakistan, or Iraq, or Nigeria, or Pakistan or Palestinians or Yemen never appeared on the horizon while #prayforparis appeared virtually immediately. The Western media aren’t bothered about massacres outside their own myopic, Westerncentric view of the world, nor are Western leaders. Too much is invested in selling weaponry to countries like Saudi Arabia, Israel or Egypt. Can’t forgo the almighty dollar for human rights!
We folk on the ground can do so much better. Our grief and outrage need not be selective. There is a simple mantra we can follow: all people matter. Not just in Europe. Not just in the United States. Not just in Australia. But wherever people are subject to the violence of terrorist organisations, drone warfare, war and disaster. Where once the war dead outstripped civilian casualties, now civilian deaths far outstrip military deaths in modern warfare. As the comment below says, pray for world. Or, if you’re not into prayer, send good thoughts. Do good deeds. Be somehow of service to humanity.
In that way we can build a better, more loving, more inclusive world. And overcome with love and solidarity the hate and dissension terrorist groups, a tiny minority in the world today, try to sow.