The past couple of weeks have been sad and horrifying. Every corner of the world is grieving. My prayer is for the families and friends of all the people who were murdered in cold blood for no important reason. Young people who never had the time to fall in love. Grandparents who will not see their grandchildren grow up. Children who will never have another adventure or kiss their mommies goodnight. Spouses who will never spoon with their partners. Children who will never hug and kiss their parents again.
The pain whirling around the world is heavy and dark. When you lose someone you never really recover. You learn to survive, often with help from your friends. Some are able to move on the thrive once again. It takes time, lots of painful time. I pray, to whatever is Divine, that they will not be alone and that they will feel Divine love wrapping itself around them. And I pray that the leaders of the 206 countries on our planet will be filled with Divine wisdom, compassion, gentleness, kindness and love. You and I need to pray for all our leaders to put politics aside and care about stopping the insanity.
142 students killed in Kenya. Where’s the international outrage?
Earlier this month, Kenya was rocked with a terror attack that left 148 people dead. Of those, 142 were students.
The brutal massacre happened April 2 at Garissa University College in the eastern part of the country close to the porous Somali border.
Members of the Islamic extremist group Al-Shabab claimed responsibility — calling it revenge for Kenyan troops fighting Somali rebels in 2011. This same group gained international attention in 2013 when they brutally killed 67 people at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi.
At Garissa, a handful of militants stormed the campus. After separating Muslims from Christians, they killed the Christians execution style.
The New York Times called it the worst terror attack against the nation since 1998 when the US embassy was bombed in the capital. Yet, many felt the atrocity did not garner as much attention as other international terrorist attacks. The frustration played out on social media with tweets like this
Terrorism theorist Max Abrahms, from Northeastern University said there is no one explanation, but thinks there is an element of racism at play.
“In the Garissa University attack, both the perpetrator and the victims are black and that may help to explain why the international community paid relatively little attention,” he said. “Another explanation is I believe there is probably weak local media coverage within Kenya . We didn’t actually watch in real time and that’s different say than in the case of Charlie Hebdo. ”
The twelve French cartoonists were mourned from every corner of the globe in January. In that very same week, hundreds were massacred in the city of Baga in Nigeria. With little attention, Nigerians used the only tool that seemed effective — a hashtag — #JeSuisNigerian.
And now Kenyans, in hopes their loved ones will never be forgotten are sharing pictures of when the victims were alive using the hashtag “#147isnotjustanumber,” a reference to the initial victim count.
Since the attack, the Kenyan government vowed they will respond in the severest way possible. Last week they bombed two Al-Shabab training camps.
“Where are you, Media?” ask the people of Beirut.
When Paris, France was attacked by ISIS terrorists Friday night, the news of 20 being killed spread throughout the world within seconds. In horror, we witnessed the number of Parisian casualties grow quickly. An outpour of messages for the victims and their families, expressing concern, compassion, and prayers, still saturates Social Media. There have been tributes, lighted monuments, and speeches by world leaders. Mainstream Media and Social Media have had the Paris attacks in their headlines for three days straight. But the the world and the media have failed 43 human beings who lost their lives in Beirut, Lebanon, one day before the Paris attacks. And we have failed the 200 injured, some critically.
Like Paris, Beirut was attacked by the terrorist group ISIS who have gloated responsibility for the savage massacre. Like Paris, Beirut citizens were taken by surprise with explosions on busy city streets. But unlike Paris, many around the world are still unaware of the Beirut slaughter.
Anne Barnard of The New York Times reports:
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Ali Awad, 14, was chopping vegetables when the first bomb struck. Adel Tormous, who would die tackling the second bomber, was sitting at a nearby coffee stand. Khodr Alaa Deen, a registered nurse, was on his way to work his night shift at the teaching hospital of the American University at Beirut, in Lebanon.
All three died, along with 40 others, but there have been no Facebook profile flags created that now swarm the social media networks. No world ‘moments of silence/prayer’ have been observed. This rightfully hurts and angers the innocent civilians of Beirut.
“When my people died, no country bothered to light up its landmarks in the colors of their flag,” Elie Fares, a Lebanese doctor, wrote on his blog. “When my people died, they did not send the world into mourning. Their death was but an irrelevant fleck along the international news cycle, something that happens in THOSE parts of the world.”
There was also great heroism that day in Beirut. As one of the suicide bombers approached a crowd, a Beirut resident, who was out with his daughter, made a courageous decision that cost him his life, and saved the lives of many others. Joyce Hackel of PRI quotes Elle Fares.
“He tackled him to the ground, causing the second suicide bomber to detonate,” says blogger and physician Elie Fares, who lives in Beirut. “There are many many families, hundreds of families probably, who owe their completeness to his sacrifice.”
Here is a video with a voice over. It depicts just some of the Beirut massacre and the ISIS destruction.
There are some people and some countries that are blaming Syrian refugees for the attacks in Paris and Beirut, as if the only reason ISIS is choosing to murder in certain cities is because they are chasing down refugees. As absurd as that sounds, what may be worse is that many people have become emotionally immune to the plight of Syrian refugees and consider them a nuisance. Barnard continues her NYT piece with a quote by a Syrian woman named Nour Kabbach who fled her country and who now works in Beirut helping and aiding others. Kabbach says:
“Imagine if what happened in Paris last night would happen there on a daily basis for five years,” said Nour Kabbach,
“Now imagine all that happening without global sympathy for innocent lost lives, with no special media updates by the minute, and without the support of every world leader condemning the violence,” she wrote on Facebook. Finally, she said, ask yourself what it would be like to have to explain to your child why an attack in “another pretty city like yours” got worldwide attention and your own did not.
JeSuisParis (I am Paris). أنا بيروت (I am Beirut). أنا سورية (I am Syria). I am, we are—the world.
Barbara, the Idealistic Rebel