The Hurtful Truth

Emily Mao, YGI Staff Writer

Is truth definite? Or does it change continuously accordingly to the social dynamics of the present that dominate media, the definition of the oppressors, religion or cultural understandings of life? Can we cherry pick the truth to play the righteous? By consciously or unwillingly falling victims to ignorance, people all around the world are doing so.

Take one of the most undeniable and universally accepted truths in the media: ISIS is a terrorist organization that must be demolished. Terrorism must not prevail.

After the terrorist attacks in Paris, the emotional distress many felt for Paris further brought terrorism to the limelight as articles about terrorism erupted across the media. As a universal entity, an amalgamation of countries extending from North America to Europe began to recognize the tangibility to terrorism. Fear and anger became the source of the outcry against ISIS.

Yet, in a war against terrorism, why is there little outcry against the Saudi Arabian government?

Kamel Daoud from the New York Times writes, “Black Daesh, white Daesh. The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises archeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things. The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia. In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other.”

While a number of individuals recognize that ISIS violates the principles of Islam, many of these people ignore the fact that Wahhabism, an interpretation of “Islam” supported by Saudi Arabia authority that allows for torture and oppression against nonconforming citizens, does so as well. Is the execution of a journalist by ISIS tantamount in its capacity in evoking heartbreak to the execution of a Saudi Arabian women? Why is one life valued more in media?

Although Daoud may be perceived as radical by comparing an official governmental reign to ISIS, Daoud incites a truth that must be addressed.

Because America and many Western nations have already established a
strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia that funds its attacks against Yemen and innocent civilians on a daily routine, people turn a blind eye, whether consciously or subconsciously, to the sufferings of thousands. They recognize the climbing death rate as nothing more than a statistic. What separates a statistic from the recognition of lives being lost?

Why do we justify our disregard for the torture of people under Wahhabism as a cultural normality when we regard the same actions by ISIS as an abomination that no religious dogma can justify?

Perhaps the answer lies in the misconception that the people in Saudi Arabia are complicit in their own oppression. Perhaps we are devoid of the ability to relate to the oppressed in Saudi Arabia, but we share a connection to the victims of terrorism in the west. Perhaps the tragic truth remains that we do not want to deal with the oppressed because it does not affect us directly.

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