In a perfect world, every bombing in every capital and every town gets perfect equal attention. Perfect equal coverage in media. Perfect equal shock from people across the world. A bomb in Nigeria would shock the world populace as it shocked Paris.
In a perfect world, no bombing would happen.
I wish the victims were equal everywhere, I wish we lived in a perfect and equal world but we’re not, and here’s why a bombing in Iraq, Nigeria or Lebanon won’t get the attention it gets in Paris
Sadly, Beirut has become throughout the years “a capital of death”, just like Baghdad and Kabul. This simplification and perversion is done through the media lens. We, the people living inside those dangerous places, become pieces of analysis to foreign and local journalists. Death becomes a tool to sound more “expert” and clever about the situation. When the bombing happened in Beirut, the Thursday 12th November, many newspapers rushed to call the neighbourhood where the bomb took place, Burj al Barajneh, as a Hezbollah stronghold. That suddenly militarised the bombing and the latter become somehow acceptable in many eyes, especially foreign ones. 44 innocent victims became the pawns of political but inhumane analysis. Some articles didn’t even utter the word “innocent” or “victims”.
Burj al Barajneh has certainly more Hezbollah presence than some other neighbourhoods, but everyone living in Lebanon knows it’s not a stronghold. The victims were ridiculed, they almost became legitimate targets. We are “those who keeps constantly killing each others because of religion” we come from that region where “they’re still in the middle ages.
Many newspapers ridiculed and oversimplified the Beirut bombing through the amalgam of the violent Arab, the Arab that is accustomed to death, the Arab that creates death. That’s orientalism in its purest sense and it’s just another term of its wider umbrella, racism.
The sensational and the “de-sensational.”
But we, the people living inside those places, can also become desensitised.
The desensitisation from outside is orientalist, the one from inside can be explained by a quote misattributed to a man known for many things, including mass murder : Stalin. The quote ? ” A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”
I’m not saying that the bombings in Beirut are not shocking, but I feel that we, the habitants of Lebanon, express a more numb feeling towards those bombings than we should, and Nassim Nicholas Taleb gives a good example of how, in the midst of war and destruction, we sometimes couldn’t care less. In his book, “The Black Swan” he recalls quite an interesting anecdote, if we can call it like that. He remembers how in the late 1970’s a toddler fell into a well in Italy and how he helplessly cried for rescue, “his picture was prominently displayed on magazines and newspapers […]”. That toddler made also the news in the war-torn Lebanon.
“Meanwhile, the civil war was raging in Lebanon, with an occasional hiatus in the conflict. Whole in the midst of their mess, the Lebanese were also absorbed in the fate of that child. The Italian child. Five miles away, people were dying from the war, citizens were threatened with car bombs, but the fate of the Italian child ranked high among the interests of the population in the Christian quarter of Beirut. “Look how cute that poor thing is,” I was told. And the entire town expressed relief upon his eventual rescue”. […]
“Terrorism kills, but the biggest killer remains the environment, responsible for close to 13 million deaths annually. But terrorism causes outrage, which makes us overestimate the likelihood of a potential terrorist attack – and react more violently to one when it happens. We feel the stink of man-made damage far more than that caused by nature.”
Bombings and politics.
Bombings are always political and the shock created by the bombing, especially in Paris, is being used drastically by France’s authority to refrain liberties in the country and bomb IS as an act of revenge in Raqqah, (when Raqqah is already bombed daily by the anti-IS coalition and Russia).
France is actually using the “Etat D’urgence” or State Urgency to repress environmentalist activists. According to his lawyer, Joël Domenjoud, an activist, is under house arrest because until the 12th of December. He is accused of belonging to the “ultra-leftist movement and challenging the tenure of the COP”. He isn’t alone, according to the Guardian, 23 other activists are also under house arrest. France is also building a “strong anti-IS coalition” and for the first time ever, the French FM Laurent Fabius considered working coordinate with the SAA. Making the attacks on Paris working towards the indirect easing of relations between Assad and France and, of course, serving the propaganda of IS.
Lebanon? The Lebanese Parliament voted to elevate the national debt the night the explosion happened while no one was paying attention.
Read more about the connection between bombings and politics here.