Why do we care when we see the Nigerian schoolgirls who are the prisoners of Boko Haram?
We DO watch. Most of us don’t change channels. Why?
There is nothing which ordinarily might catch our eyes: no one is badly injured, or beautifully dressed, or posing in a sexy way. And no one is asking us to do something: give money; write a letter, or anything else. Usually when we are shown suffering somewhere else in the world, like the Japanese Tsunami disaster, we are asked to donate to those in distress. With the schoolgirls, we can only feel compassion for them; there is nothing we can do to help them.
While we watch the Nigerian story many of us imagine the despair, the anger, and frustration theparents of those poor girls must be feeling. Even if we aren’t parents ourselves, we feel a concern for those desperate mothers and fathers. When I became a parent I felt that my heart had been opened; I became concerned about the welfare and suffering of all children, not just my own.
When we see those captured schoolgirls on the screen we feel what I call “global compassion”. Despite our cultural and linguistic differences, we are able to feel the pain of their situation. What we do share is a sense of common humanity; they are fellow human beings and they and their parents are suffering………….continue reading here Global Compassion and the Nigerian Schoolgirls | Psychology Today.