Many of my friends, unlike me, do not watch daily news on television. They do, however, like me, consider themselves well-informed, caring, thoughtful individuals and responsible inhabitants of a planet that seems to shrink daily in terms of interactive effects on our daily lives.
We all know all too well the plight of Syrian refugees, missing airlines over the Indian Ocean, shark attacks on far-flung beaches, and how El Chapo and the “Affluenza Teen” were apprehended in Mexico.
We also know a lot of details about David Bowie and his music since his death yesterday (not that I don’t like the music), and about Leo DeCaprio and Lady Gaga. Okay, that’s fine.
Or is it?
People died yesterday — a lot of them. “Innocent civilians” and at least one child. They were doing nothing more than enjoying a visit to a modern shopping mall in a relatively peaceful and modern section of Baghdad. And many more were injured. They were victims of a brutal Islamic State attack that included a random armed assault followed by suicide bombers followed by a nearby car bomb.
Up to 50 people died yesterday — half a world away, but prompted by the same madness that has brought such attacks to our country and to other nations.
Two separate attacks were carried out in other suburbs of Baghdad — with an additional list of victims. All were the work of ISIS. That group not only claimed responsibility, but warned that there is much more to come, and in more locations around the world.
Accounts, however, are hard to come by. On the Monday night NBC news show, there was not one word. The PBS evening report was brief; it was not the lead story.
Today, the news continues to be bad — very bad, indeed. At least seven Sunni mosques in Iraq were bombed early Tuesday, two Iraqi journalists were shot dead, and bombings occurred in Istanbul, near the famed Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sofia complex. There are at least 10 dead, most of them German tourists, leading to a stern rebuke from that country’s chancellor, Angela Merkel.
“Today Istanbul was hit. Paris has been hit. Tunisia has been hit. Ankara has been hit before,” Merkel said in Berlin. “International terrorism is once again showing its cruel and inhuman face today.”
One live feed news report, filed by The Washington Post at 10:48 EST Tuesday morning, noted that the Turkish government, after charging the Islamic State with the bombing, had announced a ban on media coverage.
I am saddened. But, more than that, I am disturbed and distraught. I am angry. I feel powerless. Events half a world away affected me deeply yesterday and today. Don’t they affect us all?
I will watch President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address tonight with great expectations. I desperately want him to acknowledge that these attacks speak to the heart and soul of Americans. I want to hear that this is a battle against evil that should be the prime concern of good people everywhere. I do not want to hear that our drones are containing the threat. I most certainly do not want to hear that we are winning. Because, I believe, unless we can find a way to stand together, we have all lost.
People died by violence yesterday. And more died today. And I am upset.