by David McElroy
For those who are committed to the idea that Muslims are evil, the vicious school attack in Peshawar, Pakistan, must be confusing, because it doesn’t fit their script.
Nearly 150 people are known dead in the attack so far — almost all of them children. For Pakistanis, this is the equivalent of about five or six of the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. We were traumatized in this country when 20 children and six adults were killed by a mentally ill man two years ago. The tragedy for my Pakistani friends is far more deadly.
It’s natural for us to see tragedies close to us as more serious than tragedies on the other side of the world. Tragedies in which the victims look like us seem more important to us than those where the victims belong to some other group. But imagine a school attack like this — with at least 132 children intentionally slaughtered — in California or Ohio or Alabama or New Jersey.
This is a tragedy that’s hard for us to comprehend, because we haven’t faced one bigger than this since Sept. 11, 2001.
For those who see the world in terms of “evil Muslims” vs. “good westerners,” the Peshawar massacre doesn’t make sense, because it doesn’t fit within their understanding. Instead, the attackers and the victims were all Muslims. If you start to understand the significance of that, you can see the error that many people make in seeing Muslims — all Muslims — as their enemies.