The Indifference that Kills
by Ernesto Galli della Loggia
[Main Editorialist for the Italian newspaper of record,] Corriere della Sera
July 28, 2014
Let's state the truth: how many here in Europe and in the West will truly care about the umpteenth massacre of Christians, blown up into the air yesterday in Kano, Nigeria, by the explosion of a bomb in a church? And besides how many truly cared at all about the Christians forced last week to abandon Mosul within 24 hours, under pain of death or forced conversion to Islam? No one. Just as no one has ever raised a peep for all Christians who have fled, by the hundreds of thousands throughout these years, Iraq, Syria, the entire Arab world. How many resolutions have Western nations presented at the United Nations regarding their fate? How many millions of dollars have they asked of the United Nations' agencies to allocate on their behalf? The slaughter has been going on for years, almost daily: by dozens and dozens, Christians are burned alive or slain in the churches of India, Pakistan, Egypt, Nigeria. Always in the silence, or anyway in the general inaction: what, for instance, has been truly been concretely done for the 276 Christian girls kidnapped some weeks ago, also in Nigeria, by the Jihadist Boko Haram group, guilty - nothing less! - of wishing to go to school, and therefore sent to a fate that is easy to fathom?
The two main reasons for this vast indifference are obvious. The first is that we find increasingly hard to feel, and even more so call ourselves, Christian. It is not a matter of simple loss of faith, which also clearly counts. It is a question of what is behind it. A couple of centuries of critical secular thought, in particular its massive vulgarization/banalization made possible by the development of the mass media, have taken away from Christianity, to the eyes of most, the social-cultural dignity of the past. For some time now, being and calling onself Christian is not only not admired intellectually, but in many environments it is considered almost unacceptable.
Christianity is not at all "elegant", and often lands those who practice it under a kind of tacit but real ban. The dominant cultural atmosphere in Western society considers religion in general as something primitive, at most a "placebo" for weak spirits, as something intimately predisposed to intolerance and violence. Monotheistic religions in a special way. Theoretically all of them, but then, in practice, in the widespread public discourse, almost only Christianity, and above all Catholicism -- therefore, to the exclusion of Judaism and Islam: the first, for obvious historical-moral reasons related (but for how long?) to the Shoah, the second simply out of fear
Yes, we must say it: fear.