“The Kitty Genovese Syndrome”

By Paul O. Proehl

The Syndrome       

A senseless murder, 37 witnesses, and no one who helped. This was the unfortunate case of Kitty Genovese, a young woman who was attacked and later killed outside her home in New York City, screaming for help while many looked on, yet none calling the police.

The fact that people watched the misfortunate of Miss Genovese and didn’t intervene later became known as the “bystander effect” or “Kitty Genovese Syndrome,” where many onlookers fail to act with the belief that others around will act.

The Kitty Genovese Syndrome is where bystanders watch, yet none help.

This phenomenon penetrates our everyday lives at an increasing rate, with people’s façade of social concern being overshadowed by impatience and anger at the seemingly insurmountable social issues which play a role in our society today.

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A portrayal of Kitty Genovese and the 37, potentially 38, witnesses. Source: Sean Munger

Cowardice Exposed

The U.S. is becoming increasingly isolationist, with President Johnson only placing a small number of guards and three cargo planes in the war-torn Congo. It seems as if the Kitty Genovese Syndrome is wriggling its way into the U.S. foreign policy, and if we are to retain our moral duty, we must take greater actions than the paltry ones we are taking now.

The 1965 American-Belgian Operation, which served to rescue American troops in the Congo, was only a small action that only increased Anti-White feelings in the nation. If we are to truly help the Congolese, the best course of action would be to assist them in their independence from Belgium by providing support, whether that be troops or firearms.

Granted, the U.S.’s rescue of the troops was justified, and the United States was given the first option to assist Mobutu and his troops, lest the Soviets intervene. It has been observed in Guinea, Ghana, and the U.A.R that the Soviet Union profits off the chaos of these nations, asserting their Communist influence and hindering Western democratic progress in the Congo.

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Belgian soldiers, wearing berets and camouflage jackets. Source: Wikipedia

Luckily for Africa, however, the Soviets have lost much of the influence they once had in territories south of the Sahara, but Arab nations in the northern tier of Africa are now sympathizing with the Communists due to their hatred of Israel.

Power is Hope

The American people would be better off if we stopped exerting a half-hearted effort at battling an alien ideology and instead wiped it off the face of the earth, once and for all.

This campaign to end terrible ideologies will take time, money, and sadly, lives. The United States has not demonstrated such patience in ending suffering and division even within America. This apathy on behalf of the American government must end.

We have a moral duty to intervene in the Congo because we have power, and power can either be used for the good of the world or for self-aggrandizement. And military action is not the only course of action we may take, rather, economic power may aid the struggling Congo.

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Heavy Rain falls on children in the Congo. Source: NBC News

Will the Public Agree?

Regrettably, the Vietnam War has seemed to inject feelings of dread into the general populace with regards to foreign interventionism. There is little doubt that the war meant huge losses for America, but this is rather an excuse, and not a reason, for the United States to not interfere in the Congo.

Although intervening is costly, it is to our better nature to help the Congolese, lest our indifference leads to more and more human suffering that could have been alleviated if we had only responded.

Call it do-gooding, meddling, whatever you like, but power will be exercised. Now the question is simply which nation will exercise it, and what that will mean for society.

Original article (by Paul O. Proehl for the Los Angeles Times, July 1967): http://search.proquest.com/docview/155755625/fulltextPDF/8FC1D23B76A4424APQ/1?accountid=7118

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