On November 13th the World’s attention was drawn to the French capital. The recent Paris attacks were shocking and created a movement promoting solidarity, not only on social platforms, but in entire cities as well. The blue, white and red colors of the French flag decorated our Facebook profiles as well as famous monuments in Australia, the US, Brazil, Great Britain and other countries. I think, it’s fair to say that the World has been mourning with France.
Alongside the messages of condolences I could not help but notice others. Such remarks like: What about Kenya, Russia, Libya, etc? We should pray for everyone, “not just Paris”. Basically, what they were trying to say is that for some reason we put more value on French lives. They say every life is valuable. And I cannot agree more. Yet, it left a bad taste in my mouth and I had to find an explanation as to “why” people seem to care more about Paris and not as much about the rest of the world and whether my discontent was valid.
After surfing the web a little, listening to my favourite podcast [check out the links below] and asking people for their opinion on the topic, I‘ve gathered some answers to my question. But keep in mind that what I’m about to state is my personal evaluation and therefore may leave you unsatisfied.
As it was happening…
The closer you are to the actual event, the more impact it has on you. On that tragic day I was safe at home in Paris, doing my home work. The minute I completed my homework, I received a message from one of my professors who happened to be American. He was about to board his plane to head back to Paris from the US and thought to email the students about these attacks. Three minutes later, I got a message from my close friend checking on me. Only then did I realize this was no joke, something serious was going down. I got on all my social platforms and switched on the television. The “breaking news” was live everywhere.
The way we consume information today enables us to “live” an event that is happening in another city or even in another continent. And a lot of people witnessed what occurred in the French capital as it was happening. The outcry was instant.
Western media is biased
Hosts from the podcast #Millennial brought up a very good point: the media covers stories it is more familiar with and has a better understanding of. It is only logical to say that German media talks more about events that took place over in Germany or when local news in the US gives a more detailed report of the happenings on American soil. So, guess what? The media from Western countries talked more about the West. Their cultures, values, way of life have more in common with France than with the Middle East.
Actually, why is there a serious lack of information, especially, quality-wise, about what is going on in the Middle East? Unfortunately, we must admit that journalists cover what attracts more attention. It is us who are more interested in what is going on in Europe or in the US than in Kenya or Libya. We are the cause and it is up to us to change it. We should stop thinking that something that took place in another country, or even city, doesn’t concern us. Let’s not be ignorant anymore and be aware of what is happening worldwide. Hopefully, one day our awareness can be translated into actions.
We are biased
We hardly notice it, but all of us identify ourselves to different groups: male or female, Russian or French, European or Asian, christian or muslim etc. etc. And I don’t mean it in a racist way. We just all happen to have roots, nationalities, beliefs and values. And depending on how different they are we might feel more distant or closer to someone from another country but with similar beliefs and values. Thus, people from Europe and the US easily identify with the French.
From the moment we identify with someone, we start to put ourselves in their shoes and feel like, it could have been us.
No one expected it
If you know the details of the attacks, you must have notice how organized they were. Six locations were attacked almost simultaneously. Can you you believe that this was happening in the developed world? In the most popular tourist city? The answer is no. At least until recently. And geographically speaking, Paris was not the closest target. Everyone thought ISIS was more focused on what’s around it: its neighbours. But how wrong we were…
It is not about “what” you say, but “how” you say it
No one argues the fact that every life is valuable. No one denies that there are tragedies news networks do not cover as it should. But when you hear someone say his or her relative passed away, do you say “Recently I lost a relative too. It’s not just you”. If you do, then I have nothing more to say to you.
Have a little respect for those who are hurting right here and right now in Paris. At this very vulnerable and sensitive moment, do not come and criticize people for how they reacted or not to different attacks. This is not the point and it is completely insensitive.
Think about how you say things. I’m sure your wits are capable of recognizing which words have what meaning and gravity. This is not the appropriate situation for you to show attitude.
Actually, there were two categories of people who mentioned other attacks. One of them shared Paris’ grief and mentioned the similar attacks ISIS held in other countries, spreading awareness and urging people to stand together. Whilst, the other ones, were pointing fingers as to “why just Paris”, spurring a very inappropriate argument.
This isn’t the time to argue. Now’s the time to open our eyes, unplug our ears, watch and listen to what is happening in the world. Be aware. Help in every way possible. Only by working together can we eradicate the evil that’s so eager to bring chaos in our lives. And with chaos comes destruction.
The Podcast: #Millennial [These guys are amazing! Please, check out their podcast!]
The Odyssey: “What Happened In Paris Is Important”
The Washington Post: “This Is Why The Paris Attacks Have Gotten More News Coverage”
My post was kindly edited by my dear friend Lina.#PrayForTheWorld
P.S. Any constructive and non-offensive comment is welcome.