KingMidget's Ramblings

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Tragedy Fatigue


Back in the early 90’s I was outraged at what was happening in what was then the former country of Yugoslavia.  With the end of Tito’s reign there, the country broke up and Serbs used that break up to settle centuries old scores with Bosnians, Croatians, and whoever else they could in the broken up Yugoslavia.  They were ruthless and destroyed towns and villages.  Hundreds and thousands were killed.  More simply disappeared.  Churches and other cultural and historical landmarks that had survived for centuries and many previous wars were destroyed in the Serbs’ quest for vengeance and dominance of the area.

And I cried out and demanded that this was something we must do something about.  With all of our power, if America could not do something to stop the slaughter and destruction of history there, than what was the point of our power.  And eventually Bill Clinton did take action to stop the horror.

Since then we have had Rwanda and Sudan and many more atrocities and horrors committed around the world.  When Palestinian terrorists kill an innocent Israeli, Israel responds and ensures that 100 Palestinians (many of them just as innocent as that dead Israeli) are killed, 1,000 are imprisoned without charges, homes are destroyed, and oh, by the way, let’s build more Israeli settlements on what is supposed to be Palestinian land.  And yet the world does nothing about this.  And nothing about the many other atrocities humans inflict on each other.

In other words, the tragedies just continue and they build and build and build.  Terrorist attacks in Europe.  More and more terror attacks in America.  Senseless slaughters of innocents by crazies who can get guns.  Terrorist attacks in the Middle East (in Baghdad and in Kabul and in Yemen and in all points in between) that leave dozens killed and many more injured each time.  And we bomb Libya and leave the country in dysfunctional ruin and then Syria explodes and the destruction is total and complete.

syria war damage #2

And with the latest horror there, we are left with this picture…

omar dagneesh

I look at this picture and I soooo want to cry and scream and demand that something must be done.  We have to do something to stop the slaughter and the horror of what is going on in Syria.  Only I can’t.  I simply cannot keep feeling the outrage and the need for something to be done as human beings continue to do things like this to each other.  I have tragedy fatigue and am beginning to lose the ability to feel the pain and despair that screams from this picture.  I am powerless, helpless and hopeless.  I look at this poor child who has experienced something beyond my imagination and I am becoming numb to it.  Because I am powerless, helpless, and hopeless.  There’s nothing I can do.  There’s nothing my country can do.  There is nothing that can be done because far too many human beings are horrible and evil and … where’s that hole I can crawl into so I no longer see these images and no longer feel the shame of what we do to each other?  This will never, ever end.

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4 responses to “Tragedy Fatigue

  1. cinthiaritchie August 18, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    It sucks, doesn’t it? And then impoverished countries spend millions hosting the Olympics, and athletes are paid millions, and for what? Jumping higher? Carrying a pigskin ball across a field? Running faster? Sometimes I also feel like digging a hole. It’s one of the reasons I stay in Alaska, even though the weather is so crappy. We are more removed up here. We are inside a hole of our own making. While around us people starve and kill and torture and bomb and Jesus F**king Christ, I don’t think that it will ever end.
    I read a wonderful article a few years ago about how if not for high levels of testosterone, it would be impossible to recruit young men into armies/war/conflict. So our biology works against us or, more pointedly, clever minds have figured out how to use our biology against us. It’s just so damned depressing.
    But yet…there are also good things, beautiful things, love-saturated things. Thankfully, there are also those things.

    • kingmidget August 19, 2016 at 6:39 am

      Yep. I’m trying to shift my focus from being so focused on the world and what’s going on in it (I feel some sense of responsibility to do that as a citizen and thinking human being) to focusing only on the piece of the world I live in. It’s hard to do, but I’m working on it.

      When I retire in a few more years, my hope is to find a place like yours where there is some built in isolation that makes that shift easier.

  2. Audrey Driscoll August 18, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    This is why I call myself a misanthrope and wonder if there’s something to those wacko theories about humans (some of us anyway) coming from outer space instead of evolving here on earth. We are too destructive for this planet. In such moods I used to be able to find a kind of cold comfort in reading Robinson Jeffers. Now I guess I’ve gone numb too. Yes, there are good things, but only for the fortunate.

  3. Kevin Brennan August 19, 2016 at 7:38 am

    Right there with you. I just read somewhere that about 80% of the world’s population lives on less than $10 a day. Insane. In the face of that, it’s only rational to see that there’s little individuals can do, though I agree with your idea to focus on the local. At least there’s the chance that some visible progress can be made on a small scale.

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