So I’ve been thinking again about the unfortunate Paris attacks, about how the world has risen to support – even Facebook rallied us all – and how that has made many of us feel as though the world think some lives matter more than others. Or that at least the media wants us to think so.
My thinking has shifted. We really can’t wholly blame the west or the western media for amplifying awareness of terrorist attacks in the west and honouring victims, while other terrorism victims elsewhere are almost ignored. Not their fault entirely. In many cases, it’s all about the government – and I’m referring to Nigeria specifically. I know the case is different for other countries that have been affected, such as Lebanon (I can’t say neglect by their government is the reason why the world did not stand in solidarity with them like they did for France – that would be untrue). But this time let’s talk about Nigeria.
This morning I took part in a 1-minute silence observed across Europe. It made me think about how the government actually cared about its own people. It is this “care”, so to speak, that makes the world take notice. It is this “care” that made Zuckerberg suggest that you change your profile pic to support France.
Think of Nigeria, where Boko Haram have made some northern areas desolate, where innocent children, women and men have been killed. When was the last time the Nigerian government made a statement after a Boko Haram bombing? When was the last time they visited the scene of bombing? Has Nigeria ever held a silence nationwide for victims of bombing or even plane crashes?
The day the government starts to care about its citizens is the day the world will start to care. Case in point: Bring Back Our Girls campaign. The awareness did not start in the US or Europe. It started when an ex-minister in Nigeria started the campaign. Then the world noticed and joined. Even Michelle Obama joined.
So while I will not change my Facebook profile pic to show support for France alone, while I think of the world and all affected by terrorism daily, I also don’t blame any of you who want to just focus on France alone at this time. The French deserve that focus. Their government treat them like humans and not things. That’s why we notice. The world will start to mourn every victim of Boko Haram the day Nigeria starts to mourn them with respect.