The Fatigue of the West

“Compassion fatigue” is a powerful expression in the English language that, to my knowledge, has no translation in French. It refers to the feeling of weariness that overcomes supposedly charitable souls when they judge they have given too much to others without seeing many tangible results in return.

This phenomenon can be seen when Western populations (who are almost the only ones to be moved by catastrophes that occur far from their borders) are suddenly faced by simultaneous dramas such as a famine in Sudan, a hurricane in Haiti, and floods in Bangladesh. As a result, they are incapable of addressing all of these events at once and, feeling overwhelmed, turn in on themselves and stop giving anything to anyone. In a lot of ways, this is the situation we are currently in. For example, Africa has totally slipped out of our collective consciousness. Few are worried about South Sudan nowadays, despite having celebrated its independence seven years ago before the country sank into tribal conflicts and famines. What about the Congo? This part of the world has been ravaged by a civil war for the last


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