The selective empathy of Americans

Columnist Katie Haga

Columnist Katie Haga

Omran Daqneesh, the young boy who is now the face of the Syrian Civil War, has recently given Americans insight into the chaos of the five-year-war. 

On Aug. 18, a video of the 5-year-old boy went viral. The video found its way onto several different social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook and was even broadcasted on CNN. 

The blank, emotionless and silent expression on Daqneesh’s face shocked the world. 

This civil war has been ongoing since 2011. According to the Syrian Center for Policy Research, one in 10 Syrians have been wounded or killed since the beginning of the civil war, with a staggering death toll of 470,000 people. 

This kind of destruction and death occurs on a daily basis in Syria and yet this image is the only one that sticks with us, why is that? 

Americans don’t care about catastrophic events such as the Syrian war unless it’s directly affecting our nation. Americans are selfish. If it doesn’t concern us and our well-being we pay no mind to it. 

Terrorism isn’t a subject to be taken lightly. Our troops have been fighting terrorism for over a decade and recently have been plotting ways to defeat ISIS. 

In America, there isn’t a constant war in our streets, no random airstrikes and the death toll isn’t consistantly rising each day. 

Courtesy // Aleppo Media Center

Courtesy // Aleppo Media Center

Our terrorist problem is nothing compared to Syria. We are the land of the free and have always been a giant mixing pot consisting of different cultures, races and religions, and we should not fear refugees seeking help in America. 

Although we are very different from Syria, we share the same interest in wanting to rid our nation of terrorism and violence. With that being said, the United States should step in and help these people put an end to their civil war. 

Americans should be more devastated by the constantly rising death toll in Syria, and not just allow their heart strings to be pulled by a single image of an injured child. It comes as no shock that Daqneesh’s face was so calm, he experiences this on a daily basis. 

The cameraman who captured Daqneesh’s expression on video, Al-Sarut, told NBC, “This is the Syrian reality, this is every day for Syrians.” 

Americans are constantly taking their daily lives for granted. We don’t have to walk around in fear worrying where we may be attacked next, whether it be on the streets, at a party or even at home. 

For people in Syria, these are the harsh realities that they come face to face with daily. 

The next time you’re sitting at your kitchen table drinking your coffee and reading the Sunday paper, don’t skip past the world news page, keep reading and educate yourself on the atrocities occurring around us. 

Just because it’s not happening here, does not mean it’s not happening at all.