The Left’s Blind Eye to Non-Western Suffering

Ben Shapiro is a Senior Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. He is the author of the new book "The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against the Obama Administration" (Threshold Editions).


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Last Thursday, Voice of America reported one of the saddest stories of the last few years: about half of all girls in Kenyan slums apparently give their bodies to older men in trade for sanitary napkins.  As health educator Lydiah Njoroge, a field officer for the Freedom for Girls Program, explained,

The least [expensive] in the market is 40 shillings … a packet that has eight pieces in it.  So, because this girl cannot afford 40 shillings – their mother, their parents are poor, they have other things to provide food and shelter – sanitary towels are not a priority.  So the girl just goes [and] has sex with an older man, most of the time not the same man – they would have one this month, another one next month, so they are very, very at risk of having HIV.

This story was largely buried in the media.  Instead, the media focused on issues like Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian Arab-populated areas; Rick Santorum’s opinions on birth control; and, of course, the evils of those GOPers who didn’t want to extend the payroll tax cut.  Can you say priorities, anyone?

The left’s incessant self-criticism of Western society has two major effects.  First, it undermines the pride and power of Western civilization, opening it to attacks from barbarians at the gates.  Second, it forces focus to Western civilization, leaving those suffering in other parts of the world to suffer their fates in silence.  When we worry about whether Catholic churches in American should have to pay for the pill in the United States, that’s attention we should be spending on the need for better education – and hell, cheap tampons – in Kenya.  When we agonize over Susan G. Komen’s funding of Planned Parenthood, that’s focus we could be directing at serious world problems.

Barack Obama was correct when he stated during his 2008 campaign that Americans are self-centered.  But even his criticism of Americans was self-centered.  Here’s how he put it:

We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK. That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen.

But Obama, like the rest of the left, has it exactly backwards.  Of course people in other parts of the world think about their own material situations.  But they don’t think about whether Barack Obama is keeping his home heated. They think about their lack of tampons, and whether they need to trade their bodies to keep clean.  Obama suggests that the West has sinned by having a high living standard; in fact, the West has sinned by beating itself up for high living standards, when its real goal should be extending those living standards abroad.

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  • Nakba1948

    Hah. This article, from a group of people who would be content to see 1.6+ billion Muslims eliminated from the earth! Please, spare us your crocodile tears and transparent hypocrisy. Zionist-neocons and human rights are as innately incompatible as Jerry Sandusky and a daycare center.

    • aspacia

      I like Jasser, and do not want him to disappear. You, on the other hand, are a different matter. Please just disappear. You, like to many others, play the victim game. You elect corrupt leader steal billions meant for their people, rather than build schools, roads, hospitals.

      Again, it is your brethren who are to blame. Israel absorbs all her refugees and many others. Many African refugees are shot by your peaceful brethren while attempting to gain sanctuary in Israel

      Put the blame where it belongs, on Muslim shoulders.

    • Divrr1230

      Muslims are a frustrated people for sure. God had made a promise of protection and prosperity to Cain the murderous son of Adam, and Cain would have benefited from following God, but being wicked he hid from the face of God. (Genesis 4: 13-16).
      Cain and his wicked descendants turned to other gods like the Muslims today turn to Allah (who is actually a demon god of high level that the satanists revere).
      Frustration breeds frustration and hatred…especially towards God's people of the Promise. While hated Jews relish under God's blessings and power, the Muslims still eat dust like wild asses and cannot free themselves of their murderous instincts compounded by jealousy of Isaac and his offspring.
      No, there will never be peace between Isaac and Ishmael, just like there is no report between light and darkness.
      I feel sorry for you Nakba…life is so short. You will unfortunately have all eternity in punishment to ponder upon your wasted time on earth, hating Jews and the one true God who has control over your next breath.

    • ziontruth

      Kakba,

      "This article, from a group of people who would be content to see 1.6+ billion Muslims eliminated from the earth!"

      Nice projection of your genocidal cravings, but all I want is for Muslims to stop their imperialist aggression against my non-Muslim state. Islam as a religion is OK, but the political program integral to it is problematic, human-freedom-wise.

      • Stuart Parsons

        Islam as a religion is most definitely not O.K. Its Mighty non-existent Allah, calls for the death, or conversion or subjugation of all non-Muslims. In Quran 8:39 he informs us he wants to rule the world……. He has delusions like Adolf Hitler

        • ziontruth

          "…Allah, calls for the death, or conversion or subjugation of all non-Muslims."

          That's the political part of Islam. It's not separable from the religion, I agree, but that's the problem with Islam, not their creeds.

          Yes, I regard Islam as a false religion, just as I regard most of them. However, we're not in the Middle Ages anymore; the right reason to stand against Islam is the political reason, its anti-liberty nature.

    • UCSPanther

      Why do you even come here if you keep getting flack? No one is forcing you to come here other than yourself.

      I think you just need a life.

    • Stuart Parsons

      No we don't want to eliminate the 1.6 billion. We would like them to come to their senses and realise Muhammad was a delusional pathologigal narcissist and Allah is just the invention of his sick Mind. There are no angels and jinn, Satan cannot sleep in our noses at night because there is no Satan and entering a toilet left foot first is entirely unnecessary, We would like the 1.6 billion to give up their ridiculous beliefs and learn to live in peace and harmony with the rest of mankind. Is that too much to ask ?

      We only have one life. Why waste it praying five times a day to a non-existent god ?
      When we die we don't go to Paradise or Hell…… we just rot away.

      Live in harmony with your fellow men and enjoy the one life you have got.

    • RoguePatriot6

      People like you really make me laugh and at the same time furious. If I had it my way I would probably exile you all to Muslim countries, get a taste of Shari'a law in the Wahbist's form. Then, later I would ask if you still have this hatred towards people who have been slaughtered by Islam and it's followers for countless centures. I mean, if you really think America is the "Great Satan", why stay? LEAVE!!! __

      "from a group of people who would be content to see 1.6+ billion Muslims eliminated
      from the earth"_

      By the way, I think you have this backwards, Islamists, want anyone who does not submit to Islam ELIMINATED!!! What part of "we will destroy the infidel, the decadent west, the Great Satan, apostates" do you not understand?

    • Hanna

      You are a liar and a deceiver. May God forgive you.

    • Hanna

      And this comment was for you Nakba 1948,( I lost it and may have replied to someone else. My apologies to whoever)
      You are a liar and a deceiver. May God forgive.

  • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ JasonPappas

    Sorry, Ben, but it's not our responsibility to run the world. Our government exists to insure our rights within its jurisdiction. We don't need to justify being proud of our traditional principles by serving others and bringing them enlightenment. There's nothing in the Declaration of Independence that says we have rights only if we go abroad and save the world.

    On the other hand you are right, Ben, in that mere aid won't solve their problems. Nothing will except a change of culture. We can serve as an example by restoring our principles. However, in the end, they have to save themselves.

    • StephenD

      Jason, Well said. I do think Mr. Shapiro did a good job in making his point that we in the West should stop beating ourselves up over having a higher standard of living; rather we should be an example that will teach others to raise theirs.

      • Jim_C

        True. If the so-called Arab Spring teaches us anything, it's what you've said. Technology outstripped the repressive regime's ability to control it. A generation of kids with smartphones and computers is able to see what they've been missing in the world, and they want to know why. That's a far better motivator than "We know what's good for you."

  • tagalog

    The history of the Left proves conclusively, on a worldwide basis, that the Left wants all people to be poor. If they're poor they'll be more dependent and more subject to chance; that makes them prime candidates to support government control that will keep everyone poor but lower the risk of disaster. Theoretically. Until they run out of other peoples' money.

    The good news in the world, if we can avoid totalitarianism rearing its ugly head again, which we probably won't be able to do, is that the entire world is getting close to the point where it runs out of money. So the welfare state -as we know it- is getting ready to wither away. People will suffer badly for a while, but once we're all back on our feet, the world will be a better place for the disappearance of the welfare state.

    • Jim_C

      "People will suffer badly for a while, but once we're all back on our feet, the world will be a better place for the disappearance of the welfare state."

      Well, that's the old "to make an omelette…" way of looking at things. I appreciate that p.o.v. because it's brutally honest–therefore, no one in politics would ever have the guts to espouse it. But it's sticky: the devil is in the details of "once we're all back on our feet." IF we get back on our feet is more like it. Talk about being "subject to chance!"

  • ziontruth

    The Marxist Left cares only about power. Nothing else. All its talk of traditional institutions (religion, family, nation) being "opiates of the masses" and "tools of the bourgeoisie for maintaining its power" are nothing but projection. For, while there are plenty of examples of religious or national leaders using their positions to enhance their power, it is not for that purpose that religion or the nation-state came to be; whereas the Marxist-ruled state has always been dystopic, without exception, its leaders ruling with an iron fist, without exception.

    Gaining absolute power—the usurpation of God—is Marxism's reason for being. Everything else is evaluated according as it serves that goal. All Marxist alliances with other groups are alliances of convenience and bandings of common hatred against some implacable foe.

  • LindaRivera

    In Pakistan and Bangladesh, Hindus, Christians and Sikhs live in daily fear. They live in hell. Muslim persecution of Hindus, Christians and Sikhs is so severe that every non-Muslim needs to be immediately rescued out of these countries. The UN agency and Western countries CHOOSE to ignore their agony and terrible suffering. Instead, they import massive numbers of Muslims into our countries. This article is about Christians. The same horrors are inflicted on Hindus and Sikhs. Dear God, please help them!

    Vatican Insider
    01/17/2012
    SOS Pakistan: The Vatican raises the alarm over the Christian situation

    …religious persecution in the Muslim-majority country, denouncing the rape and torture of Christian children, extortion of families, abuse and violence that take place in silence – and in the terror of the victims.

    In Essa Nagri there are genuine “torture cells” where girls – and Christian girls – are raped and confined. “They demand a ransom of up to 100,000 rupees for them, and if the families cannot pay, the little girls are tortured beyond recognition.”

    A brothel was opened near a Catholic church in Ayub Goth, and “Christian girls from poor families are being forced into prostitution.” http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/homepage/wor

    Free World, please help these desperate innocents!

  • LindaRivera

    humanrights.asia PAKISTAN: A lawyer from Hindu community is missing and police refuse to register the case claiming that the abduction of Hindus is of no consequence.

    The Hindu community remains under threats of abduction, forced conversion to Islam and persecution in the name of blasphemy since many years.

    A Hindu is being beaten by the Muslim clergy to convert to Islam. Photo by Chakra website.

    Forced conversion to Islam by the abduction of girls and their forcibly marriage to Muslims is common.

    Murders, kidnappings, looting of Hindu families are on high all around the Pakistan.

    Fear has spread among the Sikhs and Hindus of Pakistan after the atrocious beheading incident involving a young Sikh man because of his refusal to convert. http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/A

    The utter horror and hell of living in a Muslim majority country. Dear God, please help these innocents!

    • randy

      What about the murder and abuse of natives as christians stole their land? All christian religions should be banned in north america.

      • LindaRivera

        I love the native Americans of the Americas. They are also in my family.

        Yes, indeed, some terrible things were done by some white men. These things were one hundred percent AGAINST what the BIBLE teaches. Those bad things were against what both Judaism and Christianity teaches. The criminal perpetrators will be severely punished by God on the Day of Judgment.

        Why do you desire to ban all Christian religions in North America? Native Americans also believe in Christianity. Why do you desire to take Christianity away from Native Americans?

        It is from the BIBLE, we learn mercy and goodness, justice and forgiveness.

        God's BIBLICAL requirement for ALL humanity is KINDNESS:

        Jewish Scriptures, Bible, Micah 6:8: And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.

        In the Bible, Jesus said in Matthew 7:12 Treat people the same way you want them to treat you for this is the Law and the Prophets.

  • Guest

    I do not see any reason to run to African aid. We are perpetuating their suffering every time we do so. Let evolution run its course.

  • LindaRivera

    To randy:

    I love the native Americans of the Americas. They are also in my family.

    Yes, indeed, some terrible things were done by some white men. These things were one hundred percent AGAINST what the BIBLE teaches. Those bad things were against what both Judaism and Christianity teaches. The criminal perpetrators will be severely punished by God on the Day of Judgment.

    Why do you desire to ban all Christian religions in North America? Native Americans also believe in Christianity. Why do you desire to take Christianity away from Native Americans?

    It is from the BIBLE, we learn mercy and goodness, justice and forgiveness.

    God's BIBLICAL requirement for ALL humanity is KINDNESS:

    Jewish Scriptures, Bible, Micah 6:8: And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.

    In the Bible, Jesus said in Matthew 7:12 Treat people the same way you want them to treat you for this is the Law and the Prophets.

  • randy

    Some natives do believe in christianity because of the brainwashing done at the residential schools,along with the abuse,sexual and physical, done at the hands of priest,s. Funny how the left over natives were rounded up like animals and put on reserves as millions of christians stole thier land.

    • Guest

      Oh my goodness–where do you get such information? Do you really believe that? You should realize by now that the attack on Catholic priests was a setup all along. The Church gets in the way of liberal's agendas, so it's going to be attacked.

      While a tiny minority of priests were indeed involved–mostly 20 years ago or more–in abuse, please note how the rate of abuse in other groups is always higher. And I, personally, know 3 priests falsely accused; there are many, many others. I suggest you do an online search on 'Catholic sexual abuse in social context' as well as 'abuse claims against priests false' which show the incredible bias that was used against the Church and innocent priests. And, only believe the mainstream media if you want to be duped.

  • NotaBene

    You can’t make this stuff up. The LEFT doesn’t care enough about 3rd-world poverty? Have you been living in a cave on the moon, Ben?

    • ziontruth

      "The LEFT doesn't care enough about 3rd-world poverty?"

      That's right. The Left only pretends to care. There's a big difference.

  • Guest

    I absolutely agree we need to help those countries TRULY in need of necessities. What is wacky is when the liberals think it's somehow 'helpful' to ship the contraceptive/abortion mentality to these nations as a 'top priority.' If it were us or our children, wouldn't we want to be helped with food and basic needs?

    The author missed one very important point.
    I really bristled when I read "When we worry about whether the Catholic Church in the U.S. should have to pay for the Pill…" Hello. We are talking not only about religious liberty and Constitutional rights in this nation, but about our future erosion of everyone's rights. (I would hope that is a top priority of everyone!)

    It's not just about 'the Pill," though I think there needs to be a healthy open debate about its connections to breast cancer, as well as how it has demoralized societies, negatively affected marriages and families, etc. But I have to wonder why people can't see that this debate is mostly about religious liberty.

  • Guest

    (continued from Guest post above)

    The author and others may not have their personal beliefs attacked now, but they will no doubt be eroded in the near future if the forced mandate stands, unopposed. But too many people are thinking, "well, I'm okay with contraceptives, so no big deal." That's where they're sorely wrong.
    People need to wake up to this reality and look to the future. One group's liberty attacked today; everyone's liberty attacked tomorrow.

  • LindaRivera

    Native Americans and other indigenous peoples LOVE and SUPPORT Jews, the Jewish Holy Land of ISRAEL and LOVE Israel's God, our Glorious Creator!

    israelnationalnews:
    Grand Chief of Canadian First Nations Visits Israeli Parliament
    The heads of the largest native tribe in Canada, the First Nations, visited Israel’s Knesset on Tuesday. They were led by Grand Chief David Harper from the province of Manitoba, who personally heads the Cree tribal nation, and the purpose of the group’s visit was to express support for Israel.

    First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada. There are currently over 630 recognized First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The total population of First Nations is nearly 700,000.

    Among the First Nations delegation who visited Israel's parliament were representatives from the indigenous peoples of Australia, the Fiji Islands, Samoa and Greenland, as well as Inuit natives, a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples who live in the Arctic regions of Canada, spokeswoman from the group http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/

  • LindaRivera

    To randy:

    Your comment doesn't make sense. It is illogical. If people are abused by a religion, it makes people HATE that religion.

    It was a huge crime that native Americans had their land stolen and were put on reservations. This was NOT done by millions of Christians as you falsely claim. It was done by the government! Governments do whatever they want regardless of the people's wishes.

    Huge numbers of people demonstrated in the streets against the government's wicked forcible removal of native Americans in the tragic Trail of Tears. God will punish the guilty.

  • joy52

    While I am sorry for the sad images this article conjured up, we cannot run around saving the planet. It is not natural.