The massacre of 141 children and staff at Peshawar’s Army Public School in Pakistan has shaken much of the world. The images of bloodied children being carried to ambulances by paramedics, parents, and good samaritans have once again flooded our television screens. But only for a few moments. In Nigeria this past summer, many took to Twitter in an almost cringeworthy campaign that reduced the value of engagement in humanitarian causes to a catchphrase and a hashtag.
Even as the United States has rounded the corner on 13 years of battle in neighboring Afghanistan, the unspeakably horrific images of children being pulled from the wreckage of the school conjured up images of massacres in Oklahoma City, Beslan, Columbine, and Newtown.
The terror reflected in the visages of rescue workers, the determination of the first responders, and the bloodstained faces of children carried from the school bear an almost surreal resemblance to an all-to0 frequent scene in recent years. Yet, disturbingly, not enough conversations or Internet discussions reflected any sense of urgency regarding the massacre. Perhaps it was caught in the media wake of the events in Sydney, Australia over the weekend. Perhaps not.
Perhaps Westerners have grown a bit too accustomed to stories of horrific massacres, bombings, and attacks from Afghanistan and Pakistan, such that even such otherworldly violence as that perpetrated on the young innocents in Peshawar on Tuesday can pass by with nary a second glance. This is not to say that our hearts weren’t made heavy with the horror that we all vicariously experienced through the terror-saturated eyes of mothers and fathers standing outside of the smoldering schoolhouse.