I’m horrified. You should be too.

Warning- This post contains images that readers may find disturbing.

Something happened in the last week. Something shocking, horrifying, beyond comprehension.

If you were to read the newspapers, or watch mainstream news broadcasts, you may think I’m referring to the Essendon football club drug ‘scandal’. After all, that has been making headlines not just in the last week but for months. Apparently a decision was made this week, normal TV programing was interrupted for breaking press conferences and special edition sports programs. It was the leading story on all news bulletins. Front page of the newspapers.

Or perhaps if you had a quick look at social media, you may think I’m referring to Miley Cyrus’s performance at the VMA awards? That certainly got people talking; my news feed has been flooded with photos and video of her performance, everyone has an opinion on that particular ‘issue’.

If you are a regular reader of blogs, as I am, you may be wracking your brain to try and think of what hot topics have been written about in the past week. The recent crop of posts doing the rounds have been debating the merits of posting make-up free ‘selfies’ on social media. Lots of discussion around that issue has been going on in the ‘blogosphere’.

Last week in the early hours of the 21st of August, it was reported that rockets with toxic agents were launched at the Ghouta region of Syria, killing up to 1000 civilians including many children. Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011 and President Bashar al-Assad’s government forces has been accused of carrying out the attack, although this has yet to be confirmed.

So to reiterate, up to  one thousand people; men, women and children have been murdered by a chemical weapon attack, possibly carried out by their own government. There is footage of people dying. They are suffocating on poisonous gas, convulsing, foaming at the mouth and nose.

UN weapons inspectors are currently investigating what exactly happened and who was behind it. The USA, UK and France are considering a military strike against Syria. Russia and China are allies of Syria and are strongly opposing any military action.

Why is nobody talking about this? Why is this not headlining every news bulletin and on the front of every newspaper? When did sport become more newsworthy than crimes against humanity? Why is there more collective outrage about a pop star dirty dancing on stage than a government murdering its own citizens?

Truth be told, I am sickened. Not just by the horror that is happening over in Syria but also the horror at our apathy towards these attacks, our apathy about the death of men, women and children; poisoned allegedly by their own government. I’m sickened by our media who think it’s more important to report on sport or entertainment. I’m sickened at the lack of social commentary on an issue of such grave importance.

It is time to start talking about this. It is time to demand that the media stop treating us like shallow, small minded simpletons. It is time to stop being outraged by TV performances, video clips, song lyrics and be outraged about things that really matter, things that are affecting humanity, not just our precious sensibilities.

Please. It’s time to wake up and pay attention.

46 comments on “I’m horrified. You should be too.

  • The former Mrs Nutshell , Direct link to comment

    Who cares? They can’t be real people, with real feelings capable of generating a real income or profit. Apathy will be the killer of all that is good in the world. Myopia is my new favourite word.

    Don’t wake up. It’s slightly uncomfortable to look at real suffering.

    xxxx well done Jane darling. gem

    • Loris Ayoub , Direct link to comment

      who cares? DO you even have feelings? This are children dying!!! Over what??? Wake up!

      • Amanda Summers , Direct link to comment

        I think you will find that the above comment was sarcastic and not written by someone who truly didn’t care.

      • Hesitant Housewife , Direct link to comment

        Hi Loris, I know this poster, and her comment was definitely sarcastic, and in no way meant to be offensive. I can understand how emotional this must all be for you, with relatives living over in Syria. I am praying that everyone can stay safe xx

      • The former Mrs Nutshell , Direct link to comment

        Hi Loris, sorry that my expression and intent was not clear or obtuse enough. I am beyond outraged and appalled that a government could use chemical weapons on their own people, civil war or otherwise. I am concerned by Obama’s comments today regarding that if the US took action that it wouldn’t necessarily save these people from each other. Do these people not matter? It’s akin to Pol Pot, it’s genocide and this cannot be human behaviour, it’s repellant. So yes, I feel deeply, and I don’t know what I can do and my reaction feels like slacktivism. Apologies if I offended you here on Janes page, with her thought provoking post. gemma

        • Bertha , Direct link to comment

          La reproduction non sexuée existe chez les bactéries et les escargots, nous sommes d&;aduorsccorq, mais qu’est-ce qu’elle vient faire dans le débat ?

  • Dorothy , Direct link to comment

    Well said, Jane. I tend to keep my outrage to things closer to home, as in my home. But if people are going to get outraged about anything, they should be outraged about this. Shocking…;

  • Virginia Kop , Direct link to comment

    It does seem reasonably important here in the UK to see what is happening in/to Syria. If chemical weapons were used then I want the perpetrators’ blown off the face of the earth! Unfortunately all the badness of the world is combining to make life look cheap with the different results of religious extremists and militants who want even more power than they can easily absorb. .
    I regularly read Nevil Shute’s book “On The Beach”, which shows how one minor official starts off the war that kills everyone in the Northern Hemisphere then crosses into the Southern one and human life finishes.

  • Louisa , Direct link to comment

    I completely agree – in fact, I only found out about it because a blogger (Danielle from Keeping Up With The Holsbys, I think ) shared about it on FB last week. But it spurred me on to find out more and then start donating to UNHCR – so if you are looking for an organisation that is actively working in this part of the world and in need of additional funding then check out what they are doing. Also World Vision are doing good things in region as well. I can’t do much but I can put my money where my mouth is and I figure that’s got to be something at least. x

  • Honky Tonks , Direct link to comment

    I am not surprised that this is not getting much attention in Australia. I found the news at home is quite often misses huge events around the world.

    In Hong Kong the Australian Channel news is very good and there has been constant coverage of the Syrian crisis. I think it may be similar to SBS back home? Also, Al Jazeera news has been screening pretty unbiased news regarding this 24/7. My favourite news channel.

  • Kate , Direct link to comment

    Thank you so much Jane for making us aware of this!! I hate how ignorant I am becoming with no access to “proper” reporting. It disgusts me too how normal it is to be shallow and uneducated in this world. Someone I know was even publicly proud of unfriending someone who shared these photos of “dead children”… Your so right, horrific the event is but more sickening is the apathy. How can we as a species ever hope in our future if we are ok with turning a blind eye to this??? Xx

  • Loris Ayoub , Direct link to comment

    I am so glad you made a post about it…I have a lot of family in Syria, I am so scared for them….

  • Liz , Direct link to comment

    Its horrifying…the whole thing. the world is waiting for what happens next.

    I actually think there has been quite a decent amount of coverage on Syria end whats going on.
    In every single news update or bulletin I have seen over the last week there has always been something about it, even if its just a quick update to say Kevin Rudd has met with UN officials in regards to the next steps.

    The major channels wont do a massive focus on it, yet, they have their own shows they want to promote aswell, but they have definitely been keeping up to date with it.
    The best way to get better, more detailed and informed news about the situation is to head to ABC or SBS. I was watching ABC last week with a fantastic, detailed, upclose report from an Australian journalist on the ground in Syria, just him and his hand held camera and his guide. Amazing insight to their situation.
    Its so terribly sad, all those people, and as silly as this sounds, I feel a little on tender hooks thinking about it, holding my breath waiting for the fall out and what the US may do..where that could lead if there is an attack from the US…

  • Eleise , Direct link to comment

    I don’t watch the news anymore because it is just sensationalised crap. Those images are haunting how very very sad :( Thank you for writing this.

  • Kelly HTandT , Direct link to comment

    I don’t read or watch the news, I gave it up a while ago simply because it all seemed to be crap. A friend of mine was posting about Syria and the fact that no one was paying attention but I had no idea what she was talking about. Then I read this. My god, what has happened to this world? Bloody heartbreaking, and this shit can go down without people even knowing… Scary stuff. Thanks for sharing x

    • Simone @Greatfun4kids , Direct link to comment

      I’m like you, Kelly, I rarely watch the news because of how rubbish the reporting is (we’re in new Zealand and it’s probably even worse coverage than aussie).
      It’s hard it imagine how someone could be so evil as to poison their own people; I worry that if the USA takes matters into their hands without waiting for the UN it will be Irag all over again… and what if they kill even MORE civilians with their rockets??
      Anyway, I just wanted to say THANKS for writing a post that is a wake up call. We are all so very far away here at the bottom of the world we forget that real people, children, mothers are bleeding and dying on the other side of the world and they can’t escape it. For us it’s just news we can ignore, but for them it’s a nightmare reality.

  • SensibleChic , Direct link to comment

    Perhaps one’s choice of news outlets is the problem. I get my news from many sources including, but not limited to, MSNBC, my local paper, PBS, Aljazeera, and Associated Press. This unfortunate story has been all over the news since the moment the attack occurred. Its all they are talking about. Unless one doesnt pay attention to national and world news, I don’t understand how one could not have known about this tragedy. By the way, TMZ is not news.

  • Mary Halteh , Direct link to comment

    WELL SAID !! What a fantastic blog post !!
    Shocking, horrifying, beyond comprehension – is exactly what it is !
    Thank you so much for addressing this issue and making people more aware of how horrible and cruel our world can be. There are more important issues out there than sports and celebrities. People are dieing and suffering and living in such horrible conditions and no one seems to care. What has happend to our humanity !!
    I pray for peace for Syria and peace for ALL people of the world. No one deserves such torture. No matter your race or religion, we are ONE people. Our world needs to wakeup unite and do something against all these war crimes.

  • kethry , Direct link to comment

    This HAS been all over the news in the UK, especially given that Cameron has been pushing for the UK Armed Forces to join the US in retaliatory strikes against the Syrian government.

    However, please be aware that the situation there on the ground is not simple. It never IS simple, except to say that people should not be dying in this way. of course they shouldn’t. that part is easy – what the rest of the world can do about it isn’t so clear cut. If we send in bomb strikes the Syrian government will retaliate – both against its own people (witness the Archbishop of Canterbury’s warning about the Christians in the region) and against the rest of the world. and then there is the fact that the Middle East is a tinderbox – always has been, always will be. There are those – perhaps rightly so – that are fed up with “western” intervention in the middle east, our insistence that democracy of some form is the correct method of governance. We – the Western World – should not be the world’s policeman. We have the United Nations for that, and for that reason I am glad that Cameron lost last night.

    Its easy to be horrified. Its much more difficult to come up with a concrete plan for dealing with the situation in such a way that doesn’t cause more knock on problems. We took out Gaddaffi. Witness what is now happening in Libya (and that doesn’t get reported in the news). Witness what is happening in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in parts of Africa where the western world hasn’t intervened against dictators and tyrants (perhaps, cynically, because there’s no oil there). Its not an easy situation, its not simple.

    • Neen , Direct link to comment

      Great post Jane! Totally agree about the media shamozzle.
      I agree with Kethry too. It’s definitely an ethical dilemma.
      We should be discussing these types of ethics more.

  • Jessie Hay , Direct link to comment

    Those pictures are so confronting and upsetting :(
    There seems to be a huge level of apathy for anything that happens outside of our allies’ countries, sadly this doesn’t even rate with our media :(

  • Rachel , Direct link to comment

    You’ve given me a well deserved kick up the arse – metaphorically speaking! I’ve had a pretty crap week at work and have been having a bit of a “poor me” whinge about it. Your post has reminded me that there are people in Syria who have would have loved to have had my “crap week”, from the safety of my well-protected life here in Australia. Great post – you certainly woke me up xx

  • Abbie C. , Direct link to comment

    In Australia, this atrocity has been on news broadcasts on virtually all channels every day since it happened.
    In Britain, parliament was recalled for a special sitting to discuss possible action and there was an interview tonight on our (Australian) TV with the French Prime Minister. Quite apart from the U.S., many governments around the world are debating what to do – the writer needs to get the facts right! Those who perpetrated the act need to be brought to justice, but going to war with them and killing countless people who are innocent is not the answer.

  • Rite , Direct link to comment

    I too am a bit gobsmacked on what clarifies as newsworthy in our country. Pop star upheaval during such more important issues surrounding us today.
    I agree w/abbie that we must wait for all the facts b4 considering anything, especially the beginning of wwIII. Yes, if one follows the news (and not just on the recent bombing in Syria, yet in the past several years of events surrounding US, its ennimies and its allys) intervening in this cause would very likely cause the third world war. To-date Russia, Germany, Iran, China stand on the side of the Syrian govt. Great Britain recently declined from being involve, given the intel they reviewed; France is still considering. Obama is, w/out any congressional approval or review or discussion, considering “going it alone.” The UN is still investigating. No one knows if it was the rebels (who are known terrorists, that many wish to send our boys and girls to fight along side in this civil unrest) or the govt who deployed the bomb (think about it, who has the most to gain if sarin bomb was used? Yes, the rebels.) The death toll has been gravely exaggerated. This is an internal conflict going on for thousands of years. In the event america stirs the pot, it is very likely we would contribute to the total loss of Israel and its people (they would be the closest target for germany, russia, iran, china for attack in retaliation for our involvement.)
    Despite Syria news alone, look at other recent news over the past few years… and then think, why would this happen if our govt knew Russia may very likely be our enemy? You can google all these to find credible news stories:
    Obama’s hot mic gaffe telling russia he would take care of them after the election, for then he would have more flexibility.
    Fully armed russian nuke subs went totally undetected off all our shores at different times over the past few years.
    Speculations surrounding Benghazi and Stevens/clintons/obama’s arms deals.
    Russia, just recently, were inspecting our defense missiles in CA.
    An agreement between Putin and Obama to have 15k Russian troops to “assist fema” in terriortory III (dc area) during crisis.
    Obama exec order allowing martial law during peacetime.
    When you put all these things together, why in the heck would we be supplying weapons to the rebels in this war, when Putin is supplying the govt? Something is very very wrong here when you put all the news together. It doesn’t add up… and it doesn’t add up for the american citizens more than anyone.
    So be very careful with the rest of our lives, least you welcome nukes hitting our own soil. This is serious. Very serious indeed… and if you ask me, it does not add up.

  • Mrs Woog , Direct link to comment

    I think it is also horrifying to think of the things that aren’t being reported on in Syria! Sometimes the media focus on the wrong stuff.

  • Emily @ Have a laugh on me , Direct link to comment

    I only watch ABC and SBS news so of course have been aware of this, but I’m an old school journo – I am disgusted with how the media is so worried about celebrities and not the real world. The dubbing down of news is disgusting – but people lap it up so until everyone demands better news we won’t get it!

  • Katherine , Direct link to comment

    Superb post however I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic?
    I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further.
    Thank you!

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  • Rhonda , Direct link to comment

    In developing countries there’s real opportunities to see real reporting on daily struggles and chaos. I guess because they relate more to what’s going on. In Australia the media shows only what they think would ‘concern’ our nation.

    Perhaps it’s also part the nation’s fault. If people put less interest in fabricated gossipy news, the media might back down and put real news?

    This is possibly also the reason why many would not understand why refugees seek better homes. If we are not shown what drives them out of their countries, how can we expect the nation to truly relate? Right? It makes one wonder if it’s all politics.

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