Westerners share a certain common heritage, so we naturally sympathize with Londoners more than with victims from different cultures — say, Africa or Asia. But even as sympathy pours out for London, there were no Facebook check-ins or flag overlays when 150 were killed in Afghanistan just 3 days earlier. 20 million people are at risk of starving in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen. And their ordeal can’t be ended in 8 minutes by police; they endure it day after day, and may for the rest of their lives.
If he was to lose his little finger to-morrow, he would not sleep to-night; but, provided he never saw them, he will snore with the most profound security over the ruin of a hundred millions of his brethren, and the destruction of that immense multitude seems plainly an object less interesting to him, than this paltry misfortune of his own. To prevent, therefore, this paltry misfortune to himself, would a man of humanity be willing to sacrifice the lives of a hundred millions of his brethren, provided he had never seen them? (The Theory of Moral Sentiments)
I knew what was coming. I’d gone through this very same drill dozens of times. As many times as each of those vibrant and colorful visas in my little green book. My Nigerian passport. Even before the immigration officer pulls me aside, I instinctively pull myself aside.