People

A Crash Course in Newsworthiness

This is a tweet from the official Real Madrid account before today’s game against Real Betis.

https://twitter.com/realmadriden/status/325640502219268096 : A minute of silence in the memory of the victims of the Boston marathon bombings. #halamadrid

I may be alone in this, but I blinked twice, then thrice, when I saw this. Why on earth is Real Madrid, one of the world’s foremost sport brands, commenting on an incident in the United States? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been watching all the coverage of the stories emerging from the Boston bombings, just like everyone else. And that’s for 2 reasons. One is that I was searching for answers about why this happened. The second reason is because that is the only thing any news outlet is talking about.

But here’s a glimpse of other events in the world that would have had more airplay if the marathon ended without incident: the Sichuan earthquake which killed 100+ persons and injured 5000+ others (yes folks, that’s thousands injured and over one hundred dead); the bomb blast targeting a candidate in the upcoming Pakistani elections which killed 3 of his family members and injured 7 others; random Syrians are still being killed in the civil war crossfire. I would look for positive headlines, but that’s becoming as scarce as pygmy elephants.

So why is a Spanish organization which is ranked by Forbes as the of most valuable football club in the world, observing a minute’s silence for the victims of the Boston bombings and not every other “significant” disaster in the world? I mean, one does not become globally successful by such myopic pandering. I guess American victims are more interesting than Chinese or Pakistani or Syrian victims. And it helps that #PrayForBoston was trending. Better than that, Madrid.

That brings us to this gem. Quite a lot of folks saw this as heartfelt condolences. I think that’s a gross misunderstanding. Let us think for a second what it must be like to live in terror… real terror… everyday. Not one Monday at a large public event. Everyday. Think about something as routine as going to find something for your family and being very uncertain to make it back home.

And so with tongue firmly in cheek, and armed with très American “peace” signs, the Syrian Revolution sends condolences to the first world.

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