I am going to take a break from travel pictures to write about something that has been on my mind the past few days. The world is seeing an onslaught of terror attacks, each more horrific than the next- the sheer horror is hard to imagine. I am no political expert, so I am not offering any theories or hypothesis. One would expect the same level of horror for each of these episodes- whether it was Paris or Brussels, Lahore or Istanbul, Ivory Coast or Nigeria, Syria or Yemen, Beirut or Baghdad, or Pathankot in my own country. But we see Je Suis campaigns for Paris and Brussels, but not for the rest. It is easy to say that these social media campaigns are just a pop culture trend but it is a reflection of what we care about.
The western media BBC and CNN of the world pander to their viewers- any episode in Europe or USA gets far more attention than a similar episode in Asia or Africa. But shouldn’t every life matter? What did the children in Lahore do to deserve such an end? Shouldn’t we have the same compassion? Isn’t every life worth the same?
If media focuses on what gets them viewers, social media focuses on what people have heard and are reacting to, and the governments change the landmarks for those episodes that are “trending”. We hear from terror experts that in the face of such violence it is important for the country to band together, have a strong sense of solidarity, which will eventually lead to resilience. So shouldn’t this support be for everyone?
I come from a city that has been repeatedly suffered from terrorist attacks- from 1993 bomb blasts to 2008 attacks, Bombay has endured a lot. The city banded together after each attack, resilient in spirit, but living abroad in 2008, it was a story till the terrorists were arrested. Then the channels focused on their nationals impacted, before moving to the next big story. Seeing the moving tributes for Paris, I can’t help but wonder why the same reaction isn’t available for other countries.
Facebook may allow me to change my profile picture to show solidarity for France or Belgium , but I want to pray for all of humanity- every person affected by all these senseless acts for violence.