Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The World Expects Tragedy Everywhere Else But Europe

Last week Thursday there were terrorists attacks in Beirut, Lebanon. On Friday there were also terrorist attacks in Paris, France. Both these incidences killed scores of people, at least 40 in Lebanon and 128 in France. However, much of the world attention has been on France. Even in Zambia, most people are more aware of the French incidence than the Lebanese one. Both the terror attacks were horrible but why is it that the world is more fixated by the Paris attack. It could a reason of expectation.

Allow me to use an analogy, if you come from a family where every one of your siblings graduated from university when you do graduate too it is nothing spectacular because it has been done before. However, if you come from a family where you become the first to graduate from university, the jubilation and celebration will go on for days, because it does not happen in your family. In the same vein, I think the French attacks have received so much attention because no one expects it to happen there. It is supposed to be a safe country, with peace loving people where attacks do not just happen on the boulevards. Meanwhile, for countries like Lebanon, such attacks may be regarded as the norm. A bomb blast happens at a market,  mosque, or hospital then it is expected rather than the exception. Lebanon falls into other countries that are experiencing terror attacks such as Syria, Yemen, Kenya, Nigeria, Afghanistan and many others. The world may expect attacks from any other place but in Europe and America.

Could it be that there is a numbing of the emotional sensitivity when attacks happen in developing countries. The media is constantly bombarding us with dead bodies littered with bullets, the carnage of a suicide bomber, or the beheadings of an expatriate all happening in terrorist strewn developing countries. This is on every international news outlet that rather than begin to be shocked by it, we are more likely to expect it. The world may be developing a fatigue for Syria, Lebanon, Nigeria, Iraq, Afghanistan and the other countries where terrorism is wrecking havoc. It may be the reason why Facebook has not previously bothered to set flags for those countries.

 When terror attacks happen in Europe as it did in France, it is unexpected, out of the ordinary, breaking the script and is considered a mass tragedy. President Obama has even called it an attack on all of humanity, I would like to know what the other attacks were on. This sad attack on Paris has received widespread condemnation and solidarity from people across the world. Major architectural buildings such as the Sydney Opera House, Empire State Building, and  London Bridge Tower had the French flag beamed onto them. On Facebook, people's profiles had the French flag on them. I would be right to say that it was trending. This generosity of support that France has got, however, has not gone well with some sections of society. There have been questions as to why the other countries that have previously been attacked did not have their flags on Facebook. The people who have put the French flag on their profiles have had their moral compasses questioned. It has brought back the discussion of whether European lives are more important than those of other people around the world more especially in developing countries.

As we debate whether European lives are seen as more important than others, we must also not forget to look at it from another perspective. Terrorist attacks do not happen everyday in France or Europe, therefore when they do happen it can only be expected that it will receive more attention than other countries have are daily suffering from attacks. Then challenge then is how do we prevent ourselves from growing fatigued by the others whose citizens live in fear and a dying out of these attacks. How do we make sure that their voices are heard and something is done about their situation. It should not have to take an attack on France or any European country before the world realises that something serious needs to be done.