Hypocritcal terrorism

How do we decide what deserves more media attention?

Evette Thompson

There have been many acts of terrorism throughout Africa and Eastern countries as a result of two major terrorist groups being present in those regions: Islamic State (ISIS) and Boko Haram. Recently, they have become more potent in everyday life and are starting to spread toward the West.

On Nov. 13, Paris witnessed a string of terror attacks by ISIS across the city, leaving 129 people dead and more than 300 injured according to CNN. The French government declared a state of emergency and prominent leaders across the world condemned the attacks and pledged their support to France. On social media, the most talked about subject was the Paris attacks as people used the hashtag #PrayForParis to show their sympathy and stand with the people of France.

The day before the Paris attacks, ISIS militants detonated two bombs killing about 49 people in Beirut. The media coverage on this attack was little to none and most people had no knowledge of the bombings. Most news agencies completely brushed it off and focused solely on the Paris attacks. Reporters were sent to Paris to provide a live coverage of the attacks but there were very few, if any, reporters in Beirut, as if the people of Beirut were not important or that it is just normal for things like that to happen there because it is in the Middle East.

Similarly, on the day of the Paris attacks, Reuters reported of a suicide bombing at funeral in Baghdad that killed at least 18 people and wounded 41. Once again, the mainstream media went silent when it came to the broadcasting of the tragedy at the funeral.

Surprisingly, most people jumped to the defense of mainstream media for the disparity in the coverage of such tragedies, claiming the attacks in Paris deserved more coverage because it had a higher death toll. If that is the case then the whole world be

would be focusing on what is happening in Nigeria right now.

Boko Haram is one of the most vicious terrorist organizations that is in alliance with ISIS and is based in Nigeria. The New York Times classified it as the most deadly terrorist group of 2015, beating ISIS. So, shifting some of the attention from ISIS to Boko Haram would not only be beneficial to Nigeria alone, but the world in general because the expansion of the Boko Haram network beyond Africa spells trouble for most Western countries.

About 3500 people have died as of Sep. 30 at the hands of Boko Haram, according to Amnesty International. Countries like Nigeria are fighting very hard to combat terrorism and have lost thousands of civilians as a result. Yet, the world is silent about it.

A militant group linked back to Al Qaeda known as Al Shabaab, who are based in Somalia, initiated the Garissa attack which caused the death of 147 Kenyan students back in April. This attack gained less attention than the attack on The Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali, which cost 21 people their lives, as reported by BBC News. Is it because the media is listening and being more sympathetic to events occurring in non-western countries? Why was the Garissa attack brought up only when the Paris attacks happened and not sooner?

That is not the case. The victims of the attack at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali mainly consisted of people who were not Malians. The hotel was hosting international diplomats so most of the people in the hotel were from countries like France, Germany, America, and China. If something does not happen in a Western country or does not directly affect the West, then the media shows no concern toward it which is wrong.

Showing empathy for the events in France and dismissing more catastrophic attacks in places like Syria or Mali as normal is wrong. Such hypocrisy is what will be detrimental to the fight against terrorism.

It is unacceptable for one to think that African and Eastern countries are expected to have more violence as compared to Western countries. Nigeria, Kenya, Lebanon, Baghdad, and Mali are fighting the same issue we as Americans are fighting: terrorism. So why not unite and fight together instead of choosing who to grieve with? Selective empathy will not lead us anywhere.