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Why Did The World Care More About The Boys In The Cave Than Other Kids In Crisis?

Leeda.the.Paladin

Well-Known Member
Why The Thai Cave Rescue Drew So Much Attention Compared To Other Crises

10, 20186:34 PM ET

MALAKA GHARIB


Twitter
MARC SILVER





Like millions of global citizens, Abraham Leno has been riveted by the story of the 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a cave in Thailand.

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"I sat around the radio with my family and we wanted to hear the recent updates of the kids, every little detail," he says. "To see all the governments sending their best divers, giving them equipment, offering their moral support — it was a beautiful thing to see."


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But Leno has another perspective. As a youth, he spent ten years in refugee camps in Guinea. Now working at the American Refugee Committee, he wishes that the media had paid more attention to his plight and his fellow refugees: "It would have shed a better light to create the understanding necessary to help us."

Others share his concerns. Manyang Reath Kher became a Lost Boy at age 3 and later founded the charity Humanity Helping Sudan. He says, "I don't want to sound horrible to those kids [in the cave], but the attention they got, it should be spread around. Give that to other children, too."

The aid community is grappling with that issue as well. While they all stress that they were deeply moved by the story of the boys in Thailand, they raise a point: Can the world bring the same level of care and resources to other children living in crisis? More than half a million Rohingya children live in camps inBangladesh, for example, and 800 children die of malaria each day.




There are, of course, reasons why the cave story is so riveting.

"This is a human story. There's a clear drama," says Brian Klaas, a fellow of comparative politics at the London School of Economics. "Everybody is rooting for them."

Other life-and-death situations do not resonate in the same way, says Klaas. In a viral tweet, he wrote:

He'd like to see stories about Rohingya refugees, Syrian refugees and South Sudanese refugees told "in a straightforward way."

But there isn't always an audience for such stories. "Protracted conflicts are more and more difficult to get people energized about," says Christy Delafield, communications director at Mercy Corps, an international aid organization. "It loses newness and novelty."

12 million refugees under the age of 18. The more people who are suffering in a crisis, the harder it is for people to become engaged with their stories, says Delafield.

That's because of a phenomenon known as "psychic numbing," which psychologist Paul Slovic has written about extensively.

As Shankar Vedantam, host of the NPR podcast Hidden Brain, wrote when he was at the Washington Post:

"In a rational world, we should care twice as much about a tragedy affecting 100 people as about one affecting 50. We ought to care 80,000 times as much when a tragedy involves 4 million lives rather than 50. But Slovic has proved in experiments that this is not how the mind works.

"When a tragedy claims many lives, we often care less than if a tragedy claims only a few lives. When there are many victims, we find it easier to look the other way."

The cave crisis was also notable for the response by the world's rich and famous.

Soccer stars like Brazil's Ronaldo told the boys to "stay strong." After the rescue, all 12 were invited to the upcoming World Cup final. (They're reportedly unlikely to go because they are recuperating from their ordeal.)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk put together a team to design and build a special "kid-size" submarine to assist in the rescue efforts (although the Thai government said it was "not practical for this mission").

What if the same degree of brainpower and resources were devoted to other crises, asks Klaas. "A lot of [other] tragedies are much more solvable. If we had Elon Musk devote his attention to malnourishment or people dying from preventable disease, then things would get solved much quicker. We'd be able to save much more than 12 people in two weeks."

And even though big numbers can be overwhelming, they can still be powerful, says Martin Scott, a senior lecturer in media and international development at the University of East Anglia.

"The point is that it doesn't have to be human interest stories to tell about the suffering of others," says Scott. "I was reading a U.N. briefing and it made me cry. The statistics were so overwhelming. I didn't need the story of a child who's just lost her mother to make that meaningful."

 

Laela

Sidestepping the "lynch mob"
The Thai story reminds me of the lil Jessica in the well story; I get it that fewer victims make a story more riveting, but human suffering is human suffering..the media plays a big role in the attention spans, unfortunately
 

Reinventing21

Spreading my wings
I also think it is because problems like mass starvation, diseases in poor areas etc., are extremely overwhelming because they are problems where the solution is not simple and immediate. The boys in the caves are not valued more than any other kids, but people can relate at a more personal level because the solution and outcome were more immediate. There would be less long term psychological stress so people are more willing to engage.
 

nubiangoddess3

Well-Known Member
The Thai Soccer team in the cave was a temporary situation. Other kids in crisis is a permanent situation. Humans especially Americans don't have a long attention span.

Also, the remedy to get the kids out the cave is quicker and easier than recusing kids worldwide out of poverty, slavery, prostitution and other horrors of the world.
 

nysister

Well-Known Member
Honestly, it's tiring hearing about places that can't seem to get anything right. Thailand is a fairly peaceful land and this was a sudden and unexpected happening.

This isn't to say I don't care about others and I donate to many causes. But countries that have known nothing but poverty and war are easy to blank out on after a while.

They also weren't asking for anything but attention. They aren't migrating, in need of food, being adopted or anything else but being rescued from a cave. It's easier to be emotionally involved when people aren't constantly asking something of you.
 

larry3344

Well-Known Member
Honestly, it's tiring hearing about places that can't seem to get anything right. Thailand is a fairly peaceful land and this was a sudden and unexpected happening.

This isn't to say I don't care about others and I donate to many causes. But countries that have known nothing but poverty and war are easy to blank out on after a while.

They also weren't asking for anything but attention. They aren't migrating, in need of food, being adopted or anything else but being rescued from a cave. It's easier to be emotionally involved when people aren't constantly asking something of you.
This.
 

Laela

Sidestepping the "lynch mob"
I didn't believe his first Tweet... "outliers"? He must be a member of the IGA.. :lol:


And Elon has already backtracked and is talking about filters now. Shame on me for falling for the okey-doke. Hundreds of years of broken promises and I fell for it.
 
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