An alleged terrorist detonated an improvised explosive device on a St. Petersburg subway train Monday, killing eleven people and wounding at least 50 more — after which Russian authorities discovered and defused an additional deadly apparatus at a second metro location, likely preventing further carnage.
And while American corporate press published obligatory, cursory rundowns of the incident, notably absent in coverage — as well as on social media — were the typical trite, if maudlin, demands to fight the War on Terror a little bit harder.
Because solidarity. One would think.
When, just last month, a maniac attacker plowed his vehicle into a London crowd, killing three, then rammed the gates of British Parliament and stabbed to death a police officer, a tidal wave of condolences and calls for revived unity against ever-nebulous terrorism flooded England from every corner of the globe.
Union Jacks fast adorned a sea of Facebook profile images — as had the flags of Germany and France when each endeavored to recover following similarly devastating tragedies.
Monuments quickly glowed with the brilliant colors of each flag — from the Eiffel Tower to the Brandenburg Gate — if not in person, the entire planet witnessed heightened nationalism incidentally opportuned from disaster, plastered across front page headlines for days or more.
Avoiding the clarion call for unanimity would have been damned near impossible — lambasting the hypocrisy, a socially treacherous folly.
Terrorists strike with surprising frequency worldwide — particularly in Middle Eastern nations already awash in conflict amplified by interference and manipulation by the American-dominated West — yet a dearth in compassion for victims in different regions persists in dramatically lopsided responses to actual acts of terror.
This isn’t to say the public is somehow beholden to grieve in a particular manner — mourning is, after all, peculiarly intimate.
But unapologetically sliding-scale grief speaks to efficacious propagandizing of xenophobia in that terrorism’s victims in Pakistan, Syria, or Indonesia, for instance, somehow weren’t deserving of the same flag-draped condolences as their European brethren. For an unfortunate many, terrorist attacks in the Middle East simply happen there — thus it can’t be considered as worthy of news, much less sympathy — despite horrendous death tolls in those incidents.
Then St. Petersburg happened — its attacker blithely unaware the monstrous act also stripped bare the self-righteous patina under which the War on Terror has thus far been waged.
Russia, being as peculiar a ground to acts of terror as its European and — to an exponentially lesser extent — American counterparts, should have at the least earned a similar flag filter as adorned profiles following attacks on Paris, Brussels, Orlando, Berlin, Istanbul, Nice, London, and others.
But it didn’t.
Nor did the Russian flag light up the Eiffel Tower. Even Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate stood starkly bereft of commiseration — a senate speaker cited in Berliner-Zeitung even summoned gall in the face of tragedy to dismiss a possible display of solidarity with St. Petersburg, because “exceptions should only be made in exceptional cases.”
Apparently eleven fatalities do not an exceptional tragedy make — when the deceased hail from the U.S.-influenced West’s current Enemy Number One — but the four who perished in London, including a police officer killed in the line of duty, do.
A distinct reason exists for such gymnastics of logic — specifically, there is no war against terror.
Fighting the mushrooming problem of terrorism was never the primary goal of the conveniently nebulous war — indeed, that the U.S. offers no excuses for actively arming and training terrorists, simply by branding them moderates, proves outright hypocrisy.
Refusing to decorate in moribund solidarity with Russian victims of terrorism decisively condemns the United States to live with the uncomfortable turpitude of moral vacuity.
In fealty to the American War Machine, politicians champion the War on Terror in the same manner and with the same gusto they did at its advent; but the American populace has had sixteen years in which to examine actions stemming from the original casus belli — and nothing, besides obscene profiteering, adds up.
The fact is, were we legitimately attempting to eradicate terrorism, the Pentagon wouldn’t train terrorists to fight in tandem with our troops. Were we legitimately attempting to eradicate terrorism, American bombs wouldn’t indiscriminately flatten family homes, hospitals, schools, and civilian infrastructure — emboldening the previously moderate into joining radical terrorist groups and, perhaps, manage revenge for ruined lives. Were we legitimately attempting to eradicate terrorism, unreasonable strictures against legal immigration and the nearly unprecedented refugee crisis would be characterized as the result of the West’s military interference in the Middle East — not, themselves, a threat of future terrorist attacks.
Were we legitimately dedicated to eradicating terrorism, as the War on Terror pretends, we would all be standing in steadfast solidarity with Russia as it mourns the loss of eleven civilians to a terrorist.
Instead, we’re dehumanizing each other, ranking human worth by nationality, and fattening the wallets of the military-industrial machine in our untenable apathy.
The real enemy isn’t terrorism — it’s forgetting our humanity.
Our lack of unity with Russia, unfortunately, proves we’re well on our way.