Oliver Nassar


I didn't want him to be an arab
Or a muslim
Or worse yet, a muslim-convert

Though I knew he would be

So I subconsciously add him to the list:
2014 in Ottawa

He joins:
2001 in New York
2004 in Madrid
2005 in London

And then I feel guilt
Guilt for my thoughts being not with the humanistic impact of the crime
But the ideological
Of another muslim committing another crime with political undertones

So I attempt to understand the origin of my perceived apathy

The best I can come up with?
I've become numb

Numb to the descriptions of violence and horror:
The BBC alerts of beheadings and suicided bombs
The New York Times emails on kidnappings and rocket launches
The Toronto Star leading stories on IS(IS/IL)

Numb to the visuals of violence and horror:
Photos of masked men shadowing orange jump-suited hostages
Charred remains of cars
200 girls being held hostage and explosions in Palestine

Perhaps I don't feel the humanity of the crimes as much anymore because the bar is now too high

Watching the twin towers, at 16, crumble to the ground, raised the bar
Skyping with friends whilst hearing gun shots in the distance raised the bar
Seeing photos of someone you shared coffees and cigarettes with as an IS(IS/IL) hostage raised the bar

Maybe my bar for contextualizing violence as part of humanity is now so high, that numbness is the only way to keep a level of stability
Maybe there's merit to limiting the amount of news I allow myself to be exposed to
Maybe that's a responsibility that is uniquely shared by the generation(s) of 24-hour, real-time, pervasive news cycle, citizens