The Inconvenient Truth About Westerners’ Solidarity

Last Friday evening, gunmen and suicide bombing attacks were carried out in several places in Paris that victimized hundreds of people, from which at least 127 have died. The...

Last Friday evening, gunmen and suicide bombing attacks were carried out in several places in Paris that victimized hundreds of people, from which at least 127 have died.

The next morning, almost all the newspapers and magazines featured the attacks. Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms were filled with support messages. Additionally, campaigns to help victims and their families, were already circulating around the internet. In a statement about the horrific event, Obama characterized it as being “an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share”, which was later tweeted in the White House account. Some even called it the French 9/11.

The 13th of November 2015 was, indeed, a very dark and sad day that should not be forgotten. But as shocking as the Paris attack was, the truth is that thousands of people in the world face similar situations and apparently, only a few seem to know about them.

For instance, since 2013, the Islamic Extremist group Boko Haram has been responsible for the deaths of more than 8000 civilians in Nigeria. In Kenya, an attack carried out by al-Shabab in a University, in April, left 147 students and teachers dead. In Lebanon, last November 12th, two ISIS suicide bombing attacks left almost 40 dead and 180 wounded. In South Sudan, the conflict between the President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar has caused thousands of deaths and more than 1.5 million displaced people.  Additionally, apart from the high death rates, many of these occurences are marked by extreme acts of cruelty and torture.

Some of these are considered part of civil wars, and other acts of terrorism, such as what happened in France, nonetheless the outcome is the same – suffering and death. And now we should ask – is what is happening in South Sudan, for instance, less relevant and less worthy of being covered by the media than what happened in France last Friday? Why have we never seen such massive coverage in regards to the savagery and cruelty faced by civilians in non-Western parts of the globe?  And why are just a few people tweeting about these events?

It is hard not to think that the reason behind this is the fact that Western countries are not being affected by the rapes, starvation, kidnapping and death of girls, boys, women and men in South Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria, or Lebanon, and as such, are not compelled by fear to talk about them. But true solidarity should know no frontiers.

Therefore, I would like to take advantage of this wave of solidarity towards France to remind everyone about the victims that are piling up in South Sudan, Kenya, Lebanon and in other places of the world that no one seems to know about.

Sure, seeing the solidarity growing among the online community regarding what happened in Paris is truly touching and inspiring, but the Paris attacks are only ONE example of the MANY horrific events that tragically swipe away innocent lives every day.

As far as I know, “humanity and the universal values”, as Obama put it, include all human beings and apply to everyone, regardless of geographic location.  So please, let’s all stand for ALL victims of war and terrorism, and not focus in one single event that is not representative of the world current reality.

Silvie Vale

Passionate about LGBT issues and human rights, Silvie Vale has recently graduated in Development and International Relations from Aalborg University, Denmark. She is specialized in Global Gender Studies and is particularly interested in creating awareness about matters of social justice. She loves travelling, researching and learning new things.
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