Stop judging people who cry for Paris!

When Kim Kardashian breaks a fingernail, the world gasps. Meanwhile, hundreds of young girls could be kidnapped and raped in places like Nigeria and Bangladesh. There’d be a token burst of indignation across social media and, perhaps if these girls are lucky, a mention on a big mainstream media new outlet. Beyond that, it is an uphill slog to sustain public awareness. Indeed, it is astounding how the amount of attention Kardashian’s fingernail would attract could utterly dwarf the public response to the cry of anguish of all those Nigerian and Bangladeshi girls combined.

Today the world stands in solidarity with the people of France following the vicious terrorist attack on Paris by Islamic terrorists. But the strength of this solidarity highlights the starkness of the lack of attention other terrorist attacks in other cities attract. But I’m not here to judge people who choose to shed tears for Paris today (and adding the French colours to their profile photos on Facebook) after scrolling past news about similar attacks on Beirut and other cities on their timelines.


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That’s just the way the world works, folks.

We can’t really pretend to be people who give equal attention to all things in our environment. In fact, we are physically incapable of doing so. If we were creatures who could be equally indignant about every outrageous event that happens around us, we’d suffer the same thing Superman suffered when he first started developing his super-hearing powers as a teenager. Superman had to train himself to focus only on the important signals and filter out the noise in order to make the most of his super-sensitive senses. Ordinary people like us, on the other hand, did not need to consciously train ourselves to filter out noise from the barrage of data collected by our five senses that hit our brain every second. We were born to be selective about what we pay attention to.

This acute selectiveness is a cognitive skill we apply at a subconscious level. We can, for example, focus on the voice and the words of a specific person we are having a conversation with in a room full of people who are talking as loud as that person. That is a remarkable brain skill that we are hardly conscious of — because it is part of an ancient mechanism that is hard-wired in our brain. We also know of times when a single word or sound from across that din of chatter can just as easily direct our attention away from the person right in front of us. My ability to quickly tune in on a conversation I subconsciously perceive to be, say, important to me from a across a long dinner table attests to the awesomeness of the finely-tuned alert mechanism that is in our brains.

In the same way, we cannot really blame the broader public for the seemingly disproportionate amount of attention it gives to Paris over and above the rest of the suffering world. Paris, after all, is a city everybody loves — which is not the same sort of thing one could honestly say about Beirut or Dhaka, perhaps.

When something bad happens to Paris, everybody becomes sad because most people could relate to Paris. Even people who have not been to Paris, can claim to have a personal relationship with The City of Love thanks to the abundance of literature and media content filled with stories and experience set there. Paris is like family to most of the world’s citizens. When something bad happens to family, empathy comes easy.

Closer to home, we hear certain activists lament the way Filipinos can be so vocal about their grief about the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks half a world away while being oblivious to the plight of the Lumads (indigenous people who live in Mindanao) just a few hundred kilometres from imperial Manila. Well, we’ve always celebrated the way mass communication technology has made the world a more connected place, haven’t we? As such, there are certain realities about such a world we need to come to terms with.

Perhaps those who have never experienced being trapped in a conversation they don’t want to be in at a cocktail party while keeping their radars up scanning the room for better company or even listening in on more interesting chatter going on at the other table should be the first to cast the first stone at folk who cry and ‘pray’ for Paris today.

Nobody can presume to be an authority on what or who one cries for.

[Photo courtesy ABC News.]

20 Replies to “Stop judging people who cry for Paris!”

  1. I’m not buying this attack, personally, I believe this is another version 911 which wasn’t done by Bin Laden and Saddam but by Bush and Cheney. Government will induce fear so they could do whatever they want, and the people will not oppose because they’re afraid. Remember the patriot law of Bush?

    1. This isn’t 2005 anymore. Those two jokers aren’t in office anymore. Bush Jr. is too busy taking care of his daddy anyways. Besides, what good would the US get out of this when they’re already been outed for spying at their Euro allies?

  2. Even our President, the Great Benigno Aquino III has sympathized more with France than with his very own massacred cops or with the thousands who died from Yolanda

    Not that its wrong to sympathize with France, but the President’s own people should come as a priority.

    1. And that’s why this will be the beginning of the end of Aquino-Cojuangco legacy in our country and it’ll end on June 30, 2016 (if Mar Roxas will NOT win for president by next year).

  3. In other words, some people here cries for Paris kasi it’s Paris. But nobody seems to be as outrage or alarmed or supportive when the Lumad communities are being killed every freaking day outside of our doorstep. Bakit?

    1. It’s all about how relevant a society or a group of people is, I suppose. Not that some people’s lives are more important than others but to understand why there are more people who seem to sympathize with France more than with other societies who have suffered similar terrorist attacks, let us ask this question: what contribution did they give to the world?

      There are actually Filipinos who have never heard of the Lumads. So I guess maybe that is why it is kinda hard for Filipinos to feel any empathy towards the Lumads – Filipinos didn’t even know they existed in the first place. Besides, most Filipinos are too preoccupied with glamorous people they idolise to care about the down and out. We can partly blame Philippine mainstream media for not giving the Lumads enough exposure. Media can help in educating Filipinos about their plight and gain support.

      France stands for liberté, égalité, fraternité (liberty, equality, fraternity). Their motto has become an inspiration and model for other societies around the world. What they stand for is now under attack so of course people from around the world feel outraged.

    2. LUMADS are one of the fronts of the NPA, that is why.

      Too much sympathy will be the end of us. You know, like the ones showe towards so called REFUGEES.

      What now?

      1. “LUMADS are one of the fronts of the NPA, that is why.”

        Proof, please. You know, even when it’s an NPA that’s being killed, whenever there’s a killing especially if it’s done by our military, the military or our government should provide solid evidences or explanations why killings of certain people were done or became necessary because in our law, killing is a criminal offense and killing without reason trigger terror or civil unrest that provokes civilians to take arms. News came out of Lumads being murdered in their home and in public places by the militiamen.–head-of-lumad-school-tribal-leader-slain-by-militia-in-surigao-del-sur

        Also, our government should be focusing on “The Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997″. If the Lumads continue to move out of their land for their safety, when it’s our government that first and foremost should be providing their protection, they eventually lose their home and source of living. They are being pushed towards the life of poverty. And what will happen to their land they can’t help but abandon? Who do you think will get a hold of it afterwards?

      2. Even if they were, it does not warrant murder, loss of homes and oppression of the Lumads.

        What happened to rule of law? Don’t tell me it doesn’t apply to them.

      3. And whose fault is it that the NPA still has a powerbase? Yes, it’s the greed oligarchs!

        They should learn from the Malayan Emergency. That’s how Magsaysay ended the Huk rebellion. The answer to the Red threat is already there, why not use it?

  4. French people also stand as a collective fast amongst all the places under attack. They are consistent from the Charlie Hebdo incident up to this day. This easily made their plight spread. It’s evident that if the majority population come and fight together, they create a noise that could be heard at the ends of the earth. They even made a mark in history.

    Instead of judging those people who stand in solidarity with Paris, people who judge could’ve just initiated a follow through involving other places where other attacks happened as not everybody are well-informed or only pick up from what’s widely known.

  5. People are being raped, tortured and murdered in most horrible ways every day. I do not see how those victims in France are any more important than anyone else.

    We live in a horrible world and posting “Let’s Pray For Paris” on facebook does not bring anyone back from the dead. It actually means NOTHING. Empty, utterly useless words.

    Okay, I pray with you. But if the killing does not stop, does that not mean that prayer is bullshit?

    That aside, “prayer” and the believe in any god is one of the problems here. Is it not?

    How about posting “Thank you America for your criminal policies and for fucking up the whole World”.

    And may I asked who had sympathy for victims when the French bombed Libya killing an estimated 200.000 civilians? The media was quiet because who gives a shit about Libyans, right?

    I sometimes wonder about a parallel universe where there is another earth where Al Gore was not cheated out of his presidency and what that world is like?

    1. It’s the same as what is happening here right now. Hacienda Luisita Massacre happened 11 years ago, also I don’t think justice was served, but the people who keep spouting ‘NeverAgain’ are silent right now. Where is the cry for justice in this (Hacienda Luisita Massacre) case?

    2. It’s so goddamn easy to blame America since they’re acting as the World’s Police. Why not share that to Russia as well, what with defending an oppressive dictator and exacerbating chaos in Ukraine? China is also ripe for the picking too. They’re not exactly guardian angels when it comes to foreign policies.

    3. If Al Gore even win his presidency, the “Black Hawk Down” incident, the Oklahoma bombing, and the 1st World Trade Center bombing would still occur. Why? He is a politician, not Superman the savior of mankind. Terrorists are emboldened if they saw how weak leaders of the opposition are. We can always ask ISIS or their friend Obama why they are so bold and audacious.

  6. Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?

  7. The 44 Fallen SAF heroes; the victims of the Aquino’s Hacienda Luisita massacre; the Lumads murders in Mindanao; victims of other atrocities, in the Philippines, are not even mourned by our leaders. These people can be murdered, and nobody cares…Aquino, Mar Roxas, Binay, Marcos, Grace Poe, etc…who are running and telling us they care for us.

    While , it is okay, to mourn with the victims in Paris. What about the victims, we have, at home? Who will mourn for them?

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