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The Collective Outrage of the Hypocritical West

If you have been following the news the last couple of days, you would have seen the current events unfolding in Syria. The very first image that was shown in the news was one of a small Syrian child, coughing and struggling for breath. That was more then enough for me. The rest of the video showing people being hosed down, children being carried away unconscious, people lying on the ground while they struggled to get air.

Warning: Some people may find the contents of this video distressing.

Of course, the western world has responded with collective outrage. And quite rightly, too. I remember sitting there crying angry tears in response to these videos. Our internal sense of justice is offended. How can human beings do this to one another, we ask.

To be honest – and please understand that this is not a broad brushing of everyone, because I know many passionately advocate the cause – overall, I find the outrage of our western world to be full to the brim with hypocrisy.

Our collective outrage at a single event is a good step in the right direction, but why only now? Half of the population of Syria has been either killed or displaced. Millions of people have been forced from their homes already by war. Many of our western countries have refugees, Syrian or otherwise sitting on our doorsteps hoping for sanctuary.

The problem is this – we are too apathetic. Our little western bubble is nice and safe, with all our money, possessions and trappings of the ‘good life’. We like to sit silently while injustice rages on all around us and too often think that because it doesn’t affect us, it doesn’t concern us. Many in the West are too afraid of the Muslim “threat” to see the need.

We are all too happy to ignore the plight of refugees running for their lives from these countries while we collectively anger at their fellow civilians being gassed by war parties because they decided to stay. We are more then happy to sit on our hands while refugees are locked up in Naura and Manus Islands in detention centres while we cry for justice to be done in war-torn Syria. Our governments are angry but refuse policy change for the sake of people who have escaped the terror people in Syria live on a daily basis.

We are slow to anger and quick to forget. Confronting scenes draw us out and challenge us, but it is never long before we sink back into our little western bubble with no concern for the world around us.

My hope is this – that we would not drift back into complacency and ignorance. It must begin with us. We must not be blind to the desperate needs of the world around us. We must continue to be outraged by the events unfolding in Syria, because the atrocities are many. We must hope and pray for a resolution so Syrians can go back to living normal lives.

The greatest lie we tell ourselves is that “I alone can’t do enough to help, so I will do nothing”. This world will not be changed if we do nothing. We can pray; we can give; we can be aware and spread awareness; we can advocate. We can fight long and hard for the sake of these people and for their safety, security and wellbeing.

We cannot be content to sit idly by while so many of these people suffer. For the sake of compassion and for the love of Christ, lets deeply and prayerfully consider this issue, for the good of others and for the glory of Christ.

My prayer?

Let it start with me. With open eyes and willing heart before God, I refuse to sit silently and contentedly while countless people suffer evil at the hands of others.

“Fight for us, O God, that we not drift numb and blind and foolish into vain and empty excitements. Life is too short, too precious, too painful to waste on worldly bubbles that burst. Heaven is too great, hell is too horrible, eternity is too long that we should putter around on the porch of eternity.” (John Piper)


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