There is a clear and disturbing discrepancy in the value given to human life across nations. This discrepancy is mostly a function of country of citizenship (the life of an American citizen is more worth defending than the life of an Afghani citizen), but can sometimes be a function of race (a white British citizen will receive more political protection than a Pakistani British citizen), religion (Muslims fighting for their freedom in Syria die by large numbers yet evoke little international support), or point of view (Rachel Corrie was a white American citizen whose life became worthless because of her stance against Israeli policies).
This global attitude of not taking human life seriously not only goes against international conventions of human rights, but against every human being’s striving for a good life. Not knowing how or when your life will become disposable fosters anxiety and violence and stifles ambition and creativity. It is the global attitude of giving certain human beings’ lives more value than others that, we believe, is at the root of conflicts, hate, terrorism, and rebound discrimination around the world.
In the post World War II era, it appears that we in the West have consistently devalued human life in other countries. In war after war, we were responsible for millions of civilian deaths in third world countries that we either concealed from public attention, completely denied, or attempted to justify with questionable premises. Even in this age of easy access to information, these policies and practices toward “lesser” peoples continue to manifest almost unabated.
It’s clear that the issue is not simply informing the public, but awakening our innate desire to be valued as humans and to give other humans similar value. This natural instinct has been tarnished by many factors, but needs to be continually polished. We need to be continually reminded that it’s not a normal, everyday thing for people to be killed.