Home / General / Where’s the Empathy for Istanbul?

Where’s the Empathy for Istanbul?



I am for one am shocked that when terrorists strike the Istanbul airport, there’s not an outpouring of grief and sympathy from the west. Where’s all my Facebook friends changing their image status to the Turkish flag like they did with the French flag after the Paris attacks? Where’s all the talks about the threat to the glorious Turkish civilization? Where’s the 24/7 news coverage? It’s almost as if these things only matter to Americans if they happen to other white countries! If it’s outside Europe or one of its white settler states, it’s just another thing happening to those people.

In related news, there is no residual impact of colonialism and imperialism.

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  • Murc

    Isn’t France still in a state of emergency?

    We really are terribly cowardly compared to the countries that deal with this sort of thing on a daily basis without losing their goddamn minds.

    • We were in Paris earlier this month and security was very heavy around all the tourist sites and government buildings.

    • sonamib

      Isn’t France still in a state of emergency?

      Yep. Manuel Valls says it may last for a while. Which is a little worrisome.

    • JR in WV

      I was seriously impressed by the bravery and heroism shown by the security staff, who sacrificed their own lives to save those of the innocent travelers attacked by the three cowards that day.


  • Nick never Nick

    We are all of us Ottoman Turks today — don thy fezzes in solidarity, people, and change your Facebook profile picture to Suleiman the Magnificent. Lunch will be kebabs.

    (EDITOR’S NOTE: the original poster ignorantly confused the modern secular state for its imperial antecedent — all concerned readers please replace ‘Suleiman the Magnificent’ with ‘Kemal Ataturk’.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      “Lunch will be kebabs.”

      NOW you’re talking…

      • Angry Warthog Breath

        How do I separate a usual kebab-lunch from a “No One Should Have To Fear Devastating Attacks By Assholes” kebab-lunch?

        Two kebabs?

        (I’m thinking of doner, not shish, in this case.)

    • Chaz

      I guess maybe you already didn’t like Nick, but Jesus Erik, try not to be a clown. His post is about Ottomans. It is all internally consistent. Why on earth would you say he was thinking of Kemal, and did Kemal wear fezzes? Because Turkey is now a republic and not an empire, or something? The past is all gone?

      And secular republic? Seriously? They are still officially in the same legal system as Kemal’s Republic but the current president/dictator is an Islamist who hates secularism and praises the Ottoman Empire.

      So . . . no. Turkey is not today run by Kemal-types. They are in the main opposition party. Admittedly they have a stronger presence in Istanbul than elsewhere.

      • but Jesus Erik, try not to be a clown

        What the hell are you talking about?

        • Nick never Nick

          He thinks you edited my comment . . .

          I guess you could think of it as generally good advice, and try not to be a clown.

          • Ahhhh–that explains it. But I can’t help the last part of it.

            • Nick never Nick

              I’m curious now, have I just been insulted as a clown? I can’t quite figure it out.

              • We are all clowns at LGM. Not to mention objectively despicable.

                • libarbarian

                  And 90% of your posts are about FDB!

                • Joseph Slater
                • Dennis Orphen

                  New progressive blog name?

                • Hogan

                  Like the Tories, we are all BoJos on this bus.

                • wjts

                  If this election has taught us anything, it’s taught us that clowntime has only just begun.

                • Dennis Orphen

                  Rodeo Clowns > Birthday Party Clowns > Street Mimes

                • Caepan

                  I thought you all were despicably objective?

                  That it – cancel my subscription!

                • njorl

                  There ought to be clowns.

            • Chaz

              I can only say, whoops! Sorry!

          • Manny Kant

            So the Editor was Mickey Kaus?

    • econoclast

      A couple of years ago, Turks would protest the increasing Islamization of Turkey by hanging pictures of Ataturk from their windows. Well played, Turks.

      • njorl

        Atta’ Turk!

    • pianomover

      Unless your marching in that Gay Parade.

  • Nick never Nick

    It’s just that these events are more horrific when visited upon peaceful people — especially the French, with their long history of living gently and unaggressively within the natural borders of their homeland. How tragic that their generous policy of permitting immigration from parts of the world that have never had anything to do with France blows up in their face!

    • NonyNony

      It’s really sad that I have been arguing with idiots about this stuff for so long that I almost took you seriously and started going off on you. Because you hit many of the high points in the moron bingo game there.

      • Nick never Nick

        On the Internet, the line between trenchant sarcasm and amazing stupidity often blurs into nothing, there are days that I worry which side I’m teetering on.

        • sparks

          I’d thought the developers from on high would have developed sarcasm and irony tags by now. I got the gist, but I was marinated in Usenet snarkasm for ages, so I always look for that first. Unfortunately, it has led me to give the benefit of the doubt to posters/commenters I shouldn’t have.

      • econoclast

        Wait, what? I’m trying to reverse-engineer the moron bingo argument, and I’m not up to the task.

        • so-in-so

          Poe’s law has a sad.

      • Am I the only one who recognized this post as sarcasm?

  • Thom

    Thanks for pointing out this glaring difference.

  • NPR story this morning was pretty wrenching. Not to disagree with the point here, this is an exception that truly proves the rule, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

    • catclub

      Not really. NPR did some number of days broadcasts from Paris after the events there.

      One 5 minute! story is just NPR being better than most other networks.

      • xq

        The networks covered the Istanbul attacks pretty obsessively (I was stuck in airports for hours Tuesday). Top headline on NYT today, two days after the attacks, is about it. The media has covered this attack extensively, even if coverage is somewhat less intense than Paris. In contrast to attacks in e.g. Africa, which it often pretty much ignores.

        • Nick never Nick

          I think the point is more about the lack of people with Turkey-flag themed profile pictures on Facebook, and not just the media.

          • ThrottleJockey

            We have fewer dead here than in Orlando and about 2/3rds fewer than in the multi-site Paris attack. That’s a vast qualitative and quantitative difference.

            I myself think they’ve been giving this too much coverage. All this does is incite the paranoid to ever greater adulation of Trump.

            • Plus most of the dead were Muslim not Christian or “Christian”.

              Not sure how many of the French victims would identify themselves as Christian.

            • MyNameIsZweig

              But more dead than in the Belgian attack.

          • xq

            OK, but claims have also been made about media coverage, and I think it’s an important aspect of this story that the media has paid a lot of attention to it. If Facebook users don’t care, that’s in spite of, not because of, the media. And again, this is in contrast to other atrocities that the media really does cover insufficiently.

  • Rob in CT

    My wife was telling me her boss had been trying to get his wife to go on vacation to Turkey and she’d been resisting (with concern about safety being a reason). Her take was “well, they’re certainly not going to Turkey now.” I couldn’t help a somewhat snarky “I take it she won’t want to go to Florida either” response (though I have to grant, this was a strike on an airport, and thus wife’s boss’ wife’s fears were actually on-point).

    The two incidents had their dissimilarities, but in the end ~50 people are dead in each one.

    • sonamib

      To be fair, this is the third terrorist attack in Istanbul since 2015. All of them targeted touristic areas. Not to mention all the other terrorist attacks in other Turkish cities. You’d still be unlikely to die there, but it doesn’t feel very safe.

      • ThrottleJockey

        They’ve had quite a few terrorist attacks. Florida has had one.

        The reason for not visiting Florida is the alligator attacks and the crazy humidity.

        • so-in-so

          Not to mention, the crazy Florida government and “Stand your Ground” laws.

        • Rob in CT

          Floriduh Man has a sad.

        • MyNameIsZweig

          They’ve had quite a few terrorist attacks. Florida has had one

          …and a lot of random gun-related homicides that may not qualify as terrorism, but leave the victims just as dead.

          • rea

            nobody remembers the Anthrax attacks, but one took place at a Florida location.

      • CD

        I was in Istanbul last August and would happily return. This is just the way the world is.

        • sonamib

          Sure. I’ll probably visit Istanbul some time in the future, it’s a very beautiful and interesting city by all accounts. But there are other trips I’d like to make (visiting a few places in ‘Murrica for instance), and the recent terrorism wave in Turkey is definitely a factor weighing against travelling there.

  • celticdragonchick

    I’m not so sure its a case of empathy deficit as opposed to terrorism overload. We are saturated with terror bodycounts and numbness starts to set in

    • I don’t think so–there were way too many attacks like this in Asia and Africa for years before Paris and Brussels that no one paid attention to.

      • Webstir

        I think a little psychology explains what you’ve recognized Erik. I had a Social Psych Prof. once quip that the human brain is nothing more than a glorified simplification machine. Meaning, due to the complexity of the world we live in, it’s filtering more than it’s scrutinizing. Our brain employs heuristics to rapidly sort information and decide how to respond emotionally. Given the negative media barrage that has been leveled at Turkey of late — for example, I’m a regular reader of Robert Fisk & he never has much good to say about the Turks owing to the Armenian genocide — it’s a classic example of a “representativeness” heuristic. As celticdragonchick notes, when we are overloaded with info, those not trained to recognize it, often blindly default to such heuristic thinking, resulting in cognitive biases.

      • There are car bombings in Baghdad every day. Every single day. There was a suicide bombing in Kabul today that killed 34 people. I’ll bet you didn’t even know that.

      • JonH

        ” way too many attacks like this in Asia and Africa”

        Which is why we don’t pay attention to them: when they happen all the time, or seem to, we tune them out.

        Turkey’s had 14 attacks this year. The “Terrorist incidents in Turkey by year” page in Wikipedia suggests they’ve been having at least one or two significant attacks each year since 2007.

        In the case of Turkey, many of their terrorist incidents (in the past) have been carried out by Kurds, and, well, the Kurds may have valid complaints and no other recourse against a country which isn’t exactly known for playing nice and which denies that it carried out genocide against Armenians.

        It shouldn’t be any surprise that people react with shrugs.

        • DrDick

          How can we tune them out, when the press rarely even reports them?

      • DrDick


  • J. Otto Pohl

    On the issue of FB I think this is less a universal problem than you think. A lot of my FaceBook friends have changed their profiles to the Turkish flag. I have also seen a lot of outpouring of grief from FB friends in the US and Europe on my FB feed in addition to people from Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, and places outside the US, Europe, and the white Commonwealth. Thus I think it is the type of Americans you have as FB friends that might be explain the difference here. Because most of mine have explicitely posted on it and many have changed their profiles to Turkish flags.

    • It’s because I’m an academic Marxist who is racist, right?

      • Chuchundra

        Maybe it’s just because you’re an asshole.

      • TribalistMeathead

        Don’t forget hawkish on Israel, like all far leftists.

    • CP Norris

      Brockington has written a couple of posts on Corbyn that amount to “Some of my Facebook friends have been annoying me lately.” And I think an awful lot of commentary on the Democratic primary boiled down to that too.

      I often try to remind myself that my Facebook friends are not representative of the American polity or even of the Democratic party.

      • Malaclypse

        On my Facebook page, Stein will probably beat out Clinton in a squeaker, with Johnson coming in a respectable third. I do not expect reality will mirror this.

      • Chuchundra

        I often try to remind myself that my Facebook friends are not representative of the American polity or even of the Democratic party.

        I’d like to print this out and tape it to the monitor of every blogger, columnist, journalist and opinion-giver in the USA.

  • witlesschum

    Hard to argue with any of that, though it’s also hard to know what to add or how to discuss it. U.S. ignorance about the rest of the world is so pervasive that I tend to worry the alternative to caring about France is not caring about France and Turkey but caring about nothing.

    • CP

      Well, that’s certainly been my reaction on social media, at least as far as Facebook avatars are concerned.

      I’ve never done the flag thing, not even when it was my country getting hit with this last November, because I know the “ah HA! Why THIS time but not THAT time?” Greatest Empathy Bingo game is basically unwinnable. You’d have to change your avatar every day, and even then on many days you’d have to pick one flag over the other or splice several flags together to honor multiple terrorist attacks. And God help you if an attack happens in a disputed area or an area where there’s a quasi-government entity or a disenfranchised population wanting independence or a country in a civil war. Then you get to have the argument of whether to put up an Israeli or a Palestinian flag, an Iraqi or a Kurdish flag, etc.

      And that’s before you even fit in the things that aren’t terrorist acts but also might call for this kind of sympathy. Like the earthquake in Nepal last year.

      On the other hand, I do try to send the “condolences to your country and hope you and everyone you know are all fine” messages to people I know who are from the country or city in question. And every now and then somebody posts something actually useful, which I repost immediately with a “please repost far and wide” message – like information on how to find which homes are opening their doors to take people in on the night of an attack, or the contact information for the embassy office that’s trying to account for as many U.S. citizens as possible and find out if anyone’s been injured or where you can give blood. Wouldn’t want to say I’ve been consistent about it all around, though, especially since so much of it is me reposting.

    • ThrottleJockey

      Trust me, our ignorance of the rest of the world is matched by their ignorance of us. Most people aren’t Einstein and most of their knowledge is limited to the area of the world around them. When the whole of France, Europe’s second largest country, can fit inside of Texas that’s a problem. To the extent most foreigners know anything about us at all its because of Hollywood.

      • Hogan
        • LosGatosCA

          I see now you already answered it.

      • sonamib

        To the extent most foreigners know anything about us at all its because of Hollywood.

        Wow, that’s a massive understatement. American culture is freakin’ hegemonic all over the world*. A lot of your cultural tropes (“jocks” and “nerds” in high school, the fucking “greek” system in university, thanksgiving) are known worldwide. That’s a very superficial knowledge of the US, granted, but it’s a lot more than what we know about other countries. I mean, I have absolutely no idea about what university life in Italy is like.

        *Ok, let me qualify that : the lowest-common-denominator-poor-quality American culture is hegemonic all over the world. The good stuff is not that well known. When most people think about American movies, they think Michael Bay, not Spike Lee.

        • ThrottleJockey

          Well, yeah, that’s my point, what they know about US life is a function of Hollywood blockbusters.

          • Malaclypse

            The last time I was overseas, I got grilled by a Scottish conservative who wanted to know how the fook could we be so fooking heartless as to not pay people sick time. What Hollywood blockbuster mentioned that?

            • ThrottleJockey

              Do you think he was typical of the average Scotlander?

      • Malaclypse

        Trust me, our ignorance of the rest of the world is matched by their ignorance of us.

        You’ve never actually been abroad, have you? Because there’s no way you could believe this to be true after a single day overseas.

        • ThrottleJockey

          Been abroad? I’ve lived abroad, at multiple points in time. What you think at the end of a long day those guys prefer to open up the New York Times instead of their own local? Hell half the people I meet overseas think I should be able to name the country in Africa my ancestors came from 400 years ago. The first time it happened I was insulted before I came to realize that they just had no way of knowing the impact of chattel slavery on the US…Hell most foreigners are just like most Americans at the end of the day they just want to pop open a cold brew and settle down to watch a good game. Nothin wrong with that.

    • DrDick

      Agreed. I would add that Turkish culture has given the world a lot more than the French have.

      • CP

        Okay, now that hurts.

      • heckblazer

        Heck, Turks brought us the croissant!

        (by inspiring their enemies to eat the Turkish national symbol)

  • SIS1

    You could re-post this every other day at this point. I mean, if it didn’t happen for the bombing in Ankara that killed close to a 100 people,why would it now? To say nothing of attacks elsewhere.

    And yes, its pretty obvious that the press in the West makes a distinction between attacks to those in the “club” that is “The West” and those outside of it.

    • tomscud

      Sort of like one is the “house of peace” and the other is the “house of war”.

      • SIS1

        Take your nonsense elsewhere – I aint buying this dime store anti-Muslim nonsense.

      • cleek

        no Christian ever killed another Christian.

        • mikeSchilling

          It’s not my fault — he looked Jewish.

        • econoclast

          Not true. Remember OJ Simpson?

        • “Gott mit uns” (God is with us)

          Look it up.

  • muddy

    It’s just “brown on brown” violence, so never mind.

  • CP

    To be fair, my wingnuttiest relative did tweet about this attack a little, though it was mostly to bitch at John Kerry because he was clearly trying to draw attention from the fact that the shooter was a Muslim.

    That’s the amount of the empathy you can expect.

  • mds

    See, I can’t help thinking that there’s something other than “non-white” or “non-Western” at work in the glaring silence from the usual suspects. It’s that if ISIS is behind the airport attack, it’s an attack on a majority-Muslim country run by an Islamist government. During Ramadan. How are you going to play up the whole “It’s Islam’s fault” angle against that kind of background? Simply start asserting that all of the victims were Christians? (Hmm, actually, some rightbloggers will probably go there.) It goes against the Holy Crusade narrative, and shows that ISIS are perfectly willing to kill anyone if they think it advances their political agenda. Why, oh why won’t Turkish Muslims condemn Muslim violence?

    • Simply start asserting that all of the victims were Christians? (Hmm, actually, some rightbloggers will probably go there.)

      Well, to be perfectly fair, there’s a possibility that the Saudi family of four reported to be among the dead were Christians. Or false flags. Or something.

      Yeah, I’m sure some rightbloggers will in fact go there. They’ve got their niche to fill.

    • CP

      As noted below: for the only wingnut I saw who bothered to comment, the extent of a “blame Islam” response was a retweet bitching about John Kerry’s “we’re still trying to ascertain who’s to blame” (very shortly after the attacks) with “oh, yeah, they’re just trying to figure out how to not blame a Muslim.” That was it, though, nothing like the torrent of outrage over Orlando or Paris, almost certainly because, as you say, it’s very hard to spin this kind of thing in ways that fit the happy little Clash Of Civilizations universe the bigots live in.

    • Heron

      Yeah, among the Ailes-type media barons this concern over their narrative is prob part of it, though I don’t think that’s necessarily incompatible with racist attitudes towards folks considered non-white(despite being, in fact, very white as rattlehead points out. Reminds me of how folks used to talk about Eastern Euros in Texas, and still do Mediterraneans. Anglo racism is Great >:|).

      And not just the Crusader narrative gets undermined. You start making a big deal out of an attack on Turkey, and maybe people start talking about how Turkey is Daesh’s most frequent “foreign” target, and how the obvious reason for this is it’s much easier to hit them than the west, and then maybe this whole narrative the Media(fox and MSNBC)’s been pushing, about how our current policy in ineffective and Daesh is supernaturally MORE POWERFUL NOW than it was before they started losing every battle they fight in Syria&Iraq, starts to get questioned, and you can’t have that. The war lobby wants us in Syria as badly now as they did when Obama gave them the finger.

  • This sort of thing has happened enough times that I don’t really notice it anymore – weren’t there terror attacks in Africa shortly after Paris or Brussels (or both), that got a tiny fraction of the attention even though the death toll was horrific?

    What gets me this time around is the way the I’m seeing this depicted as an “Islamic” attack even though it was an attack in a Muslim country whose victims were probably all or mostly Muslim. Nothing can be allowed to get in the way of the narrative that Islam is dangerous and inherently radical.

    • libarbarian

      I’m seeing this depicted as an “Islamic” attack even though it was an attack in a Muslim country whose victims were probably all or mostly Muslim.

      When it comes to the European wars of religion, where Catholics and Protestants slaughtered each other, do you think the fact that both sides were “Christian” make it illegitimate to attribute the killing to religion?

      No religion is a monolith. When one sect slaughters another because it considers that sect to be heretics, I think it is fair to say the violence is about religion.

    • Warren Terra

      It’s an interesting question. The reporting I’ve seen suggests it was Daesh, who want Turkey to suffer as punishment for hosting US air forces that are bombing them and for possibly tightening up the border. So: if true, bombing in support of an entity that is, as its purpose for existing, dedicated to enacting an extremist vision of Islam. The attackers would have been Islamist terrorists. But: does that make the attack politics by other means (because it was in essence a tool of influencing Turkey/IS relations, rather than of promoting doctrine, and wasn’t targeted), or given that it was committed by Islamists to further the aims of their Islamist “state”, is that enough to make it “Islamic”/”Islamist”?

      I really don’t know the answer …

    • JKTH

      There were attacks in both Lebanon and Nigeria around the same time as Paris. And yeah, those were basically ignored unless they were lumped in with Paris for moment of silence type things.

    • John F

      I think there was a pretty significant terrorist attack in Beirut that got ignored in the west.

  • vic rattlehead

    Seems odd to me. I had a Turkish TA in college (like, born and raised and educated there). He was fairer skinned than some of the Italians I know here in Jersey. Another Turkish family I know (old neighbors) passes for white. Maybe that’s a biased sample. But I think Erdogan could most likely pass for another kind of Mediterranean like Italian or Spanish.

    • Nick never Nick

      I think the term ‘passes’ has some subtle implications worth looking at in this particular usage . . .

      • vic rattlehead

        Good lord, at least have the courage of your convictions-be an adult and explicitly accuse me of bigotry instead of insinuating.

        Anyway, the point is that the family I know is decidedly “non-white” to your average American. Going by skin tone alone, you would never guess, but beyond that it would be obvious that they were “Other.”

        • Nick never Nick

          I don’t want to accuse you of bigotry — but the way that you use ‘passing’ is one that puts an interesting cast on ‘white’.

          • You have to be Christian and speak without an accent to be fully white

            • Ahuitzotl

              … so there are no white Americans? (they’ve all got funny accents)

              • ckc_not_kc

                …and a lot of the nominal “Christians”? – not so much

          • Patick Spens

            Jesus dude, just say what you mean rather than darkly hinting all the damn time.

            • Okay, so, just what is a skeely skipper, then?

    • Chuchundra

      Most Turks are white, as are the majority of Arabs. That is to say, they are Caucasian, to the extent that means anything.

      It’s always funny, in these sorts of geopolitical discussions, that middle-eastern people are often identified as “brown”. A lot of white liberals are hung up on skin tone as an identifier for oppression.

      • Was Jesus brown or white.

        • J. Otto Pohl

          I have heard a lot of people claim he was black.

          • The Pale Scot

            In Ghana?

            What a surprise.

    • mongolia

      this is because what is now the turkish ethnicity is a modern-day nation-building exercise from the 1920’s on. the people who consider themselves “turks” are basically the non-kurdish muslims in the modern borders of turkey from 1925 on – this included muslim refugees from the caucasus, balkans, russia, and ukraine, muslim greeks that were part of the population exchange with greece, crypto-armenians who survived the genocide, alongside the original turkish-speaking muslims who lived in anatolia pre-1800. because of this you see a wide range of what appear to be farily different ethnic groups from all over turkey that all refer to themselves as turks, generally without much reference to where they were originally from – there is typically a much stronger attachment to village or province as their original home.

  • sonamib

    AFAICT, ISIS hasn’t claimed responsibility for the attack. Usually they’re eager to announce that they’re the ones who did it, so it looks like this the work of some other group.

    In any case, the Turkish police has identified 3 Central Asians as their main suspects.

    • Warren Terra

      Usually they’re eager to announce that they’re the ones who did it

      I thought I’d read this wasn’t the case in previous attacks attributed to IS in Turkey?

      In any case, the Turkish police has identified 3 Central Asians as their main suspects.


    • In any case, the Turkish police has identified 3 Central Asians as their main suspects.

      I will be interested (really!) to hear from J. Otto about how this will be covered in Bishkek.

      • J. Otto Pohl

        It has gotten a lot of television coverage here. But, I haven’t noticed anything on the fact that one of the men identified was from Kyrgyzstan.

  • Crusty

    There has been 24/7 breathless coverage on MSNBC. Not that its done out of empathy, but its there, even though there isn’t a whole lot to report. Personally, I’d prefer they get back to being the Trump channel.

    • CrunchyFrog

      I was unfortunate enough to spend many hours in an airport bar yesterday due to “aircraft maintenance” and actually CNN did wall-to-wall coverage of the Istanbul attack except for the US-Can-Mex leader press conference (and even then a lot of the questions were about Istanbul).

      However, the focus of the coverage was OMG IT MIGHT HAPPEN HERE SAVE US SAVE US WHATEVER WILL WE DO, with the usual parade of pro-war types in to give their opinions and little about the victims. Quite a contrast to the coverage after Paris.

      • AMK

        OMG IT MIGHT HAPPEN HERE SAVE US SAVE US WHATEVER WILL WE DO, with the usual parade of pro-war types in to give their opinions

        That’s exactly what the coverage was like after Paris and Brussels and San Bernardino. Would have been the coverage after Orlando too, except that the whole gay thing threw a wrench in the narrative.

        • CrunchyFrog

          I concede the point. I mean, that wasn’t my impression after Paris, but the only cable news I see is in airports – which is alas pretty frequent but usually only for short sample periods. So I could be wrong.

  • Cheerful

    There is also the fact that more people in the U.S. have been to France than to Turkey (I am speculating here, without statistics), more have relatives and ancestors who fought to liberate France than to liberate Turkey, and most have been raised in a culture where movies and books about France and specifically Paris are much more common than movies and books about Turkey and Constantinople.

    You are blaming people for feeling more sympathy for the death of those they feel more familiar with. Race probably has something to do with it, and may also account for the greater number of connections noted above. And whatever the emotions are should not change American policy responses to acts of terrorism. But blaming people for who they actually feel greatly emotional about seems a little petty.

    • mikeSchilling

      No, it’s because we’re white and therefore racists. The rest of the world is every bit as concerned with things that happen on different continents as with things that happen next door.

      • Cheerful

        First – Istanbul, not Constantinople. I suppose I could blame the song, and that I’m reading a book about the Crusades right now, but really it’s cultural stupidity on my part that the earlier name gets stuck in my head.

        Two: On the assumption your post is meant to be ironic, than I disagree. I do think that as the result of a lucky century or two of economic/political predominance, the “white” Western countries have a blind spot vis a vis the rest of the world, more so than the rest of the world about the West. It’s just that ragging on it all the time and blaming people for where their emotions lie, seems problematic.

        I also think France tends to be a special case, for whatever reason, though I think England would be too. If there was widespread adoption of the Belgian flag after the Brussells attack, I did not see it.

        On the other hand I have my personal prejudice at play here, as my relatives are French. So, I letting this thread go after this. It may not be worth pursuing.

        • Dilan Esper
        • If there was widespread adoption of the Belgian flag after the Brussells attack, I did not see it.

          If there was widespread adoption of the Belgian flag after the Brussels attack, I did not recognize it.

  • JonH

    Would we have to change our FB icons if the bombing had been carried out by Kurds whose culture is being suppressed by the Turks?

    Uludere airforce bombing


    A stark indicator of Turkey’s prevalent culture of impunity is typified in the decision of non prosecution of perpetrators in the case concerning 34 Kurds, 17 of them boys, who died in a December 2011 air force bombing on the Turkish border near Uludere. In March 2016 the Constitutional Court rejected the case. Lawyers for the families will now apply to the European Court of Human Rights

    • Ahuitzotl

      Lawyers for the families will now apply to the European Court of Human Rights

      ? when Turkey isnt part of the EU, and Uludere is deep in the middle east, not even in Asia Minor?

      (I’m not saying anything about the bombing itself, I’m just astonished that the ECHR might deem it in its remit)

      • Hogan

        Turkey is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court has taken cases from Turkey before.

  • Quite Likely

    Is my position of not getting worked up about terrorist attacks no matter where they occur acceptable? Obviously every one of these is a tragedy, but they’re a drop in the bucket of the total number of people who die every day. If I’m not changing my Facebook profile picture to show solidarity with Malaria victims, why do so for terrorism victims, especially when that kind of publicity and resulting ratcheting up of tensions is exactly what the terrorists want?

    • Acceptable to me. As long as this world is overpopulated, people will act like rats in a cage & eat each other. What the hell else can anyone expect?

  • K

    the area that is now turkey was originaly christian but the muslims came in and forced everyone to be msulim and turn the churchs into muslim chruchs even though it had been christian for thousands of year the msulims forced theyre religion on people and istambul used to be a christian city named for the first chistian.

    • CP

      There are Muslim churches? My goodness, all these years going to church and I never knew that. There are Muslim churches? Are there Muslim synagogues, too? How about Christian mosques?

    • alex284

      Turkey was originally Christian, and Christian for thousands of years? I don’t even think we can technically say that Christianity has been around for thousands of years.

      And Constantine was the first Christian Roman emperor, not the first Christian ever.

      And, y’know, it’s not like the Roman empire was peacefully invited into Asia Minor and then just stayed because everyone was having such a great time.

      • Ahuitzotl

        it’s not like the Roman empire was peacefully invited into Asia Minor and then just stayed because everyone was having such a great time.

        Um, they kinda were, given their history of having various kingdoms willed to the Roman state by local monarchs (Pergamum, Bithynia, Lycia … Galatia, maybe?)

      • njorl

        Before it was Constantinople it was Jesusopolis.

    • Ahuitzotl

      the area that is now turkey was originaly christian but the muslims came in and forced everyone to be msulim

      I have Mithridates the Great on line 2 with a doublehelping of bullshit.

      The area currently known as Turkey was christian for about 800 years, and has been muslim for about 900 so far.

      • los

        and before mostly christian, the area was mostly someone else, and before them, someone else else, and else else else, and … and … and the original unicellular organisms deserve reparations.

    • Pseudonym

      Hey K, when are you going to tell me what kinds of guns you have?

      • los

        They are good Chistian Guns!1

        “Sumday youll have brayins as me and Donnold Trump am.”
        Ernest T. Blogger

    • DrDick

      Unlike the Christians who came into the Americas and forced everyone there to become Christians, even tearing down the temple of Huitzilopotchli and building the National Cathedral on its site.

  • ajay

    I know the “ah HA! Why THIS time but not THAT time?” Greatest Empathy Bingo game is basically unwinnable.

    Yes, exactly. Erik is being an shit-stirring idiot here. There were people all over my Facebook feed saying it was HOMOPHOBIA that no one was paying attention to ORLANDO because it was THE WORST TERRORIST ATTACK SINCE 9/11. The worst? It wasn’t even in the top 50. Same with Beirut.

    There were two bombs in Kano the same week as the Paris attacks, and among the people acknowledging Paris but not Kano was the president of Nigeria.

  • Mike in DC

    The old adage is along the lines of, “the further away, the higher the death toll.”
    But Turkey is not that distant anymore.

  • Breadbaker

    FWIW, my Facebook profile photo is of me standing in front of the Turkish flag in Kusadasi in 2011.

  • Also, we all seem to be horrified that England won’t be in the EU, but not to care whether Turkey will or not.

    • Ahuitzotl

      The horror isnt that England wont be in the EU, but at the pain and suffering the exit process is going to cause. If Turkey is not admitted, it’s status quo ante, which is a lot less likely to generate horror or even remark.

    • CP

      As I texted to one of my Turkish friends after Brexit: “hey, the position of Bipolarly Disordered Nations That’s In The EU But Isn’t Sure If It’s European Or Not is now vacant. Are you guys still interested?”

    • AMK

      I can assure you that the rest of the EU cares very much that Turkey is not in.

      Jean-Claude Juncker will personally crown Nigel Farage Emperor of Brussels before Turkey is allowed in.

  • Pseudonym

    Technically Istanbul Atatürk Airport is in Europe, but not Europe Europe, IYKWIM.

  • Pingback: Who Cares About Istanbul -- They're Muslim()

  • Not to mention that Turkey has already done everything Donald Trump thinks will protect us from terrorism (torture etc.)

    The Turkish government is many things but squeamish isn’t one of them.

    • Pseudonym

      They haven’t tried kicking out all the Muslims though, have they?

      • so-in-so

        Sort of, when they founded the secular state. Erdogan has been busily changing that, of course.

  • Patick Spens

    This chiding would be a hell of a lot more convincing if anyone at LGM had thought that the attack on the airport was worth mentioning on its own, rather than only bringing it up when it could be used to accuse others of racism and hypocrisy.

    • GeoX

      This is true.

  • FG Superman

    Islamophobic conservatives and athiests would kill themselves before putting a star and crescent over their Trump avatars, Confederate Flag pics, semi automatic rifle images, etc.

  • Tyro

    This is not difficult to understand. Americans and Western Europeans are tied culturally, historically, and linguistically to Paris and France in ways that they are not tied to Turkey.

    Now I travel to Turkey semi regularly and have friends in Istanbul, and I have traveled in and out through that airport, so the bombing had more emotional impact for me than other Americans would have felt, but I don’t blame them for that.

    Extra points in this post for using “white” as a cultural/religious identifier rather than racial, particularly since so much of western Turkey’s population is made up of descendants of Muslims from the Balkans who left for Turkey has the Ottoman Empire collapsed and their home countries fought for independence.

    • sonamib

      Actually, I do think people in the West care about Istanbul. It’s a cool city, and it’s one that many people in the West do dream of one day visiting. That’s why there was quite good coverage of the attacks.

      But we don’t care about Turkey as a country (the Ankara bombings got way less coverage, despite the greater bloodshed), so that’s why there are no Turkish flag decals.

  • shewasthenaz

    This is a good point.

    But it was mostly just Turkish nationals who were killed, and since they were likely Muslims, they sort of assumed the risk, didn’t they?

    There’s a largely unspoken assumption that if we are Muslim, then we sort of approve of this sort of thing. That we don’t feel the same sort of horror and loss when a crime is committed.

    So, no flags on facebook.

  • j_kay

    I’ve been to Istanbul. It’s my favorite city.

    What’s not to love about a place that’s been great capital for thousands 1of years and has great food?

    • Hogan

      The mrs. and I took a Mediterranean cruise for our tenth anniversary. We were scheduled to arrive in Istanbul on our actual anniversary date. They rerouted us to Dubrovnik. Which was nice, but I’m hoping for better luck next time.

  • Ethel2Tilly

    Where is the Turks empathy for the Armenians and the Kurds?

    More importantly, they were the foes of Baron von Munchausen. Never forgive, Never forget.

    But on the plus side. Turkish men are *hot* in a hairy swarthy kind of way. I’d like to show them some empathy…

  • paul.c.klos

    Where was the Empathy from Turkey as they watched militants cross its border to Syria or watched on as the Kurds almost got overrun. Or as they slowly drift toward an Islamic Dictatorship – buy hey I am sorry the innocents but just not going to feel much for Turkey overall.

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