I’ve been following the news, at least four stories anyway: the debt-n-default something-or-other, the terror attack in Norway, Amy Winehouse (at least counting how many stories the BBC re-issues with the same eulogies) and the potential mass extermination of human life in Somalia.
Winehouse died at the same time as Breivik murdered dozens of innocent people/kids in Norway. All over, and especially on Twitter, people were angry that so much support was going to one person’s death when so many more death’s had to be
mourned regarded by us. It was inconceivable that we should care about one death, especially that of an addict who obviously “had it coming,” when we could care about many deaths.
If the level of mourning is determined by the quantity of human lives to be mourned, then Norway is a skinned-knee compared to what we could be on the brink on in massive, massive death tolls in Somalia (UN estimates ten million are heading into starvation, which is more than the estimates of Jewish victims of the Shoah.) So obviously Western society and media either have a severe problem calculating numbers or more is at stake.
I have some vague theories as to why politics, racism, economics and xenophobia are keeping this Somali crisis buried. Why it sits underneath stories of what musical celebrities thought of Amy Winehouse or, what is currently the number four most read story on BBC online, a man is caught smuggling ivory from Africa. But one thing just struck me as food-for-thought, now and in any story on starvation in Africa they show the distorted emaciated body of a starving infant. Bears an uncanny resemblance to our stereotype image of an alien.
And maybe that’s it. The only we can even write or present this kind of thing at all is to make the tragedy not one of people, but strange human-like beings with large heads, bulging eyes and frail limbs.