Our New Culture of Cruelty

A crush of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

Photographer: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

A culture of cruelty is sweeping the world and it cuts across ideological as well as national borders. In India last week, the murder of Gauri Lankesh, a prominent journalist and critic of Narendra Modi’s government, was met with euphoria by his online supporters. One of Modi’s own ministerial colleagues felt compelled to "strongly condemn & deplore," as he wrote on Twitter, "the messages on social media expressing happiness on the dastardly murder."

The left-leaning French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo responded to the catastrophic Hurricane Harvey with a cover cartoon that showed swastika flags and Nazi salutes poking out above floodwaters. The caption read, "God exists! He drowned all the neo-Nazis of Texas."

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel peace laureate who is Myanmar's de facto civilian leader, not only remains unconscionably silent about an official and intensifying campaign of murder and persecution against her country’s 1.3 million strong Rohingya minority. She won’t lift the severe restrictions on humanitarian access to the victims.