More than 215 people were killed early Sunday when a suicide truck bomb detonated in a crowded Baghdad shopping district in what was one of the worst attacks in 13 years of war in Iraq.
As CNN reported, Sunni-dominated ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombing, which happened in the predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Karrada as many were gathered to prepare for Eid-al-Fitr, the celebration that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
— Eliza Mackintosh (@elizamackintosh) July 4, 2016
Many of the deaths were children. People are still gathered around the destruction hoping to locate the bodies of family members. Badly burned bodies will have to be DNA-tested for identification. At least 175 additional people were injured by the explosion.
But there is something different about the reaction to the terrorist attack in Baghdad. It is missing the swift, collective Western outcry that resulted after similar—less deadly—attacks occurred in Europe and the United States. As Ishaan Tharoor wrote in the Washington Post:
It’s unlikely that this attack, just the latest in an unending stream of tragedy to envelop the Iraqi capital, will generate the same panic in the West as the earlier two incidents. For years now, we have become almost numb to the violence in Baghdad: Deadly car bombings there conjure up no hashtags, no Facebook profile pictures with the Iraqi flag, and no Western newspaper front pages of the victims’ names and life stories, and they attract only muted global sympathy.
Why is muted global sympathy the response (or…non-response) to more than 200 lives lost? Why does this particular attack not resonate with the Western world in the way, say, the attacks on Paris or Brussels did? It’s difficult to put a finger on the reason why some tragedies resonate more deeply than others. Were we just having too much fun on the 4th to be bothered with bad news? Are we jaded and desensitized to the point of disinterest when it comes to chaos in the Middle East?
— Joshua Yasmeh (@JoshYaz) July 4, 2016
They won't pray for Medina the way they pray for Paris. They won't pray for Iraq the way they pray for America. We're all we got.
— Mustafa (@MustafaThePoet) July 5, 2016
Tragedy in Baghdad. Why isn't this flooding our news today? #prayforbaghdad are human lives more important depending on geography?
— PAUL BLAIR (@DJWS) July 4, 2016
Rationally, it would seem that people would equally mourn the loss of life—any life—no matter geography, skin color, or religion. In theory, #WeAreBaghdad should be trending just as much as #JeSuisParis and #PrayforOrlando did. But in practice, it’s not. And perhaps most damning, it appears few have bothered to even give it a try.