The cynic weeps silent tears of rage

Another bomb atrocity makes the headlines. This latest in Manchester where husband and I spent three years at university. It doesn’t make it worse. I don’t feel angrier or choked up because I once walked those streets. Murder is murder, wherever it happens, to whomsoever it happens. For the families involved, it’s the end of the world. For the rest of us, it’s just another nail in the coffin of humanity.


It gets harder to feel the pain; the outrage is dulled—we’ve understood, that’s what terrorists do; they blow people up. The reporters work harder, the footage is more explicit, the heart-rending accounts more tearful, because we’ve heard it so many times before. We listen to calls for prayers and sympathy and interviews with distraught people who once considered going there for a holiday years ago. Imagine! It could have been us!

Only hysteria works now, and only on behalf of ‘people like us’. It’s happening in the Philippines, all over the Middle East, Africa (do we still remember ‘our girls’?). The refugees fleeing war have seen all this too, but they don’t count. The world is sinking into murder, the food industry machine-massacres, the fashion industry enslaves, our excess pauperises.

Only hysteria brings tears. We have too much to cry for. The horrors jostle, snatching at our attention to be top horror, to make jaws drop, stir the inner ghoul, and extort more prayers. Where can I look and not feel guilt?


Wind blows sand blossoms,

parched and dry like the river,

and still the birds sing.



Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

20 thoughts on “The cynic weeps silent tears of rage”

    1. I feel terrible admitting it, but the outpourings from people who weren’t there, know no one who was, and just want everyone to know what a sensitive human being they are by crying over other people’s misfortunes has become a disturbing commonplace. It’s ghoulish, crocodile tears.

      1. I wholeheartedly agree. It is one thing to show sympathy to those who are actually and really affected, quite another to put a faux stake in the ground, personalising the event and falsely owning it as you don the long weeping face and admit some tenuous link to place. I read several comments on a blog today which began ‘I was at Ariana’s gig on’ or ‘I was due to go to Ariana’s gig on’ as though the poor girl has anything to do with anything at all. The fact is that this was another radicalised nutcase seeing an opportunity. And the fact also is that we are a sick and increasingly sicker world and that Social Media makes it all the worse with its rampant outpourings and the traditional media running to catch up and therefore interviewing the world and its tenuous dog to get ‘real feel’ into their reporting. It enrages me. But you might have noticed that – being even slightly observant you might have.

      2. I think it started with Princess Diana. The tonnes of flowers, candles, daubs, messages and assorted junk that people left on pavements really gave the Brits a taste for theatre. When I went back to England for my dad’s funeral I was taken aback by all the English people who hugged me. People I knew vaguely when I was a child and would certainly not have even hugged a tiny tot in those days. Everybody wants to be part of a national outpouring. Yet they don’t want to know about other less spectacular distress, like veal crates and kids making Nikes and Mexican women being raped etc etc. Or even big time massacres if they happen to darkies ot slitty eyes or towel-heads. I know you think like that too. It comforts me that I’m not really a beast, just despairing.

  1. It is tragic, and no you are not a beast.
    I think there are the people who go overboard as if they were a part of a horrible event like this, but then I think there are others who simply imagine and think “what if I was there,” or “what if my children were there?” Perhaps it’s more of an empathetic reaction, but I also think it’s a kind of anxiety that is heightened by the 24/7 news and social media.

    1. I agree. We empathise and imagine ‘what if’ but I don’t understand why this empathising has to be so in your face. It’s the kind of thing that grabs at the heart, not the mouth.

    1. I am too, Robbie. Appalled. But I’m getting tired of the hysteria of people who have no connection to any of the victims. As if simply coming from the same country or speaking the same language is grounds for following the coffin with the family. There are people dying horribly all over the world, but we don’t care too much about them.

  2. I wonder also if I am becoming numb, but this on top of the man who drove his car through crowds in Times Square this week…on top of Trump and all the evil he and his people are doing…it’s just madness. Humans have lost their way. I find that yes, I am still appalled and also sad. (K)

    1. I think it’s finding new peaks of sadness that’s difficult. The same people (presidents etc) who send out their prayers and a string of adjectives in solemn tones when there is a suspected Islamic terrorist attack look the other way when one of their president friends gases thousands of his own people, for example. It’s the way they are so selective about their condemnations that is frightening and terribly sad.

      1. Yes. The 9/11 terrorists were mostly Saudis, for instance. But Muslims from that country were not included in Trump’s ban…(with friends like these…)

      2. The Saudis are our friends. Bashar al-Assad is our friend, Vlad Putin is our friend, most despots and dictators are our friends. They tend to be rich and have resources we like to get a good deal on.

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