This post is not in any way meant to take away from the fact that what happened in Paris this week was Barbaric. The attack is truly tragic and has shaken me, and millions around the world. The intention of this article is to point out the difference in awareness and media coverage for what, many believe, are equally tragic attacks on innocent civilians who fall victim to terrorism. For instance, just the day before, there were suicide bombings in Beirut killing 43 people.
Like any argument, it has many, many different angles. After reading countless blog posts and facebook threads, I have attempted to narrow the arguments to the three most common conclusions as to why one terrorist attack would, or should, get more coverage than another.
This article is not complete. If you belive something needs to be added, please leave a comment.
The first is that France is generally seen as a safe place to live in central Europe. A tragedy like this is far rarer than in the Middle East or Africa, where such instances have tragically come to be seen as a regular occurrence for those of us in the West. The coverage, therefore, would be due to the proximity and political ties with France as a Nation.
The second and more controversial suggestion is that other incidents are not covered because the media, and perhaps a portion of the audience, believe that these attacks, and the lives which are lost in them, are not equal.
The third, and again controversial suggestion, is that a terrorist attack in the Western world is used as a means for mass media to manipulate the nation, in order to justify both the military spending and civilian lives they have taken in conflict. For instance, the 450+ civilian deaths by coalition air strikes.
These reasons are obviously open to debate as the reason is down to a combination of different factors. The point I am trying to make here is that despite the internet offering a more open way for us to discover news, we are still subject to bias in Western media and we should be mindful of the news content we do consume, and perhaps equally as much, the content we don’t.
The following list of terrorist attacks are just a few of the atrocities which took place in the past 12 months. The full list of attacks can he seen here
- 224 Killed: Sinai, Egypt – 31st October 2015
ISIL militants have claimed destruction of Metrojet Flight 9268. Bomb is cited by experts as the most likely cause.
- 102 Killed: Ankara, Turkey – 10th October 2015
Two suicide bombers blew themselves up near Ankara central station where a rally for peace supported by HDP was taking place. The attack left 102 dead. and 508 injured.
- 145 Killed: Maiduguri, Nigeria – 20th September 2015
Boko Haram executed a series of blasts, some of which were suicide bombings, in the North Eastern city of Maiduguri, targeting a market and civilians in a mosque during night pray and a football match viewers, bringing the total number of casualties to at least 53 dead and over 90 wounded. The attack was said to be made using homemade weapons.
- 145 Killed: Kukawa, Nigeria – 1st, 2nd July 2015
Boko Haram militants attacked multiple mosques between July 1st and 2nd. 48 men and boys were killed on the 1st at one mosque in Kukawa. Seventeen were wounded in the attack. 97 others, mostly men, were killed in numerous mosques on the 2nd, with a number of women and young girls killed in their homes. An unknown number were wounded. Boko Haram claimed responsibility.
- 146 Killed: Kobani, Syria – 25th June 2015
On 25th June 2015, fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant detonated 3 car bombs in Kobanî, close to the Turkish border crossing.
- 147 Killed: Garissa, Kenya – 1st April 2015
6 to 10 gunmen associated with the Islamic terrorist group Al-Shabaab open fired at the Garissa University in Kenya. Christians were their main target of the attack, with the Islamic extremists separating the Muslims from Christians before executing them. Up to 300 students are unaccounted for. 147 students were reported killed, with fears the toll will rise, along with 79 wounded. Four gunmen were killed by security forces.
- Estimated 2000+ Killed: Baga, Borno State, Nigeria – 3rd, 7th January 2015
Boko Haram militants opened fire on northern Nigerian villages, leaving bodies scattered everywhere, reporting over 100 fatalities with as many as 2,000 people unaccounted for—feared dead.
I feel as though I should reiterate that in bringing light to these other atrocities, I am in no way detracting from the terrible events in Paris and our support to those affected should be absolutely paramount. Rather, in light of the huge coverage, I am writing to those who have stopped to think twice about the bubble of mainstream Western media and the implications of bias coverage.
First and foremost, people should be equal.