The Boston marathon bombings have once again thrown the West into a state of shock and terror. Runners who had just been celebrating their physical fitness were fatally wounded. Enthusiastic bystanders suffered the same fate.
Amid the sympathies and tributes that flooded social networks, pictures of war-stricken Syria were also doing the rounds, accompanied by messages reminding everyone that what the American nation had witnessed on that tragic day has become an everyday scenario for Syrians. The Boston bombings have served as a wake-up call, rekindling our awareness of countries devastated by incessant bombing raids. But how long will it be until we hit the snooze button again?
Despite the occasional news footage that captures a fraction of the overwhelming horror of war-torn countries, these images only manage to galvanize momentary sympathy for the victims. However, words alone can sometimes evoke a more indelible image of terrorised civilians. Khaled Hosseini’s 2007 novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, depicts the abominable treatment and suffering of women during the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. The book also introduces readers to the abysmal realities of the people of Afghanistan; demolished houses, streets littered with limbs, public executions, and people being shot dead outside their own house. These deplorable events are not at all different from what Syrians have been going through for the past two years. This is the real horror that we had been numb to until last week, when tragedy struck home.
A few hours after the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon, the media started zooming into the victims’ profiles, focusing on testimonials given by their family and friends. Heads of States offered their condolences to the victims’ families, fellow participants paid their tributes to the victims, and flowers were laid at the scene of the blasts.
But who will mourn the loss of a Syrian child when his family and friends have already been killed, and the rest of the world is oblivious to his death?