Some tragedies are bigger than others

A tragedy happened recently in Brazil where dozens of people were killed in an airplane crash. Among them were the players of the Brazilian soccer team, Chapecoense

The entire country was devastated.

On Facebook, people changed their avatar to art designs that showed support to the victims and their families. For weeks others were posting about the magnitude of their pain and their sorrow and how this tragic event brought the country together. It was a collective sadness.

Companies and organizations held memorials and made all sorts of contributions to the team and the families of the players. Friendly soccer games were held to honor them, where the teams playing wore the jerseys of the Chapecó team. The country was united in the willingness to grieve and remember these victims.

It was a great tragedy.

For some reason, however, I wasn’t so struck by this tragedy like most of the country was. I wasn’t grieving, changing my avatar or posting about my sadness. I didn’t go out and buy the team’s jersey to show my support and the accident wasn’t a topic of any conversations that I held with anyone during that time.

To people around me, I seemed apathetic and cold; halfhearted. To them, it seemed that I didn’t care. I wasn’t a true Brazilian, perhaps. I had no empathy. No heart.

It’s funny how distorted people’s perception of us can be.

I cared. Of course I cared. It was a tragedy and it made me sad.

But, I just can’t understand why this particular tragedy seemed so much more important than all the others that happen every day, in every street corner, to so many families.

Families lose their children or parents or loved ones every day. They lose them to murderers and rapists and violent husbands or unexpected strangers. They lose them to drunk drivers and traffic accidents. They lose them to floods and earthquakes. They lose them to tirany and war. They lose them to cancer and AIDS and alcoholism and drugs and depression.

Families are torn apart, love is lost, lives are stained, happiness is a blur, suffering is inevitable and mourning becomes breathing.

Most of these tragedies are never known to us, for only the ones who can captivate an audience really make it to the news. Advertising is grateful.

And every time I watch something like this on TV, I cry.

Every. Single. Time.

So, to avoid crying, I don’t watch TV.

I’m not cold.

I actually care too much.

So when a national tragedy like the Chapecó accident happens, I suffer just the same. Just like everybody else.
But I think it is unfair and disrespectful to all the other people in the world who are suffering their own tragedies when one single event is so overexposed and deemed so much more important than everything else.

To me, everyone deserves the same amount of empathy and kindness. Every death deserves to be grieved.

But, to the world, it just seems that some tragedies are bigger than others.

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