Thu, Mar 31, 2016
From 1 January to 22 March, 1,701 lives were lost in the Middle East while 739 were lost in Africa.
“The world mourned with France, and rightly so, but who mourned with Nigeria and Kenya? Where was the Western media camping out and reporting on the deaths of Africans? Are black lives worth less than those who died in Paris? I think not, in fact I know lives are lives,” were the words of Imam David Muhammad, a Trinidad Muslim leader speaking at the launch of his book, African Studies. The Western media continues to pretend the European terror attacks are more lethal and important when compared to attacks elsewhere yet statistics show the West has been the least hit by Islamic terror. According to data compiled by Signs of the Times, Africa and the Middle East have been the hardest hit by terrorism since 2016 started continuing what has become a terrorism trend. From 1 January to 22 March, 1,701 lives were lost in the Middle East while 739 were lost in Africa. These are astronomical figures especially when compared to Europe’s 40. The point is not that the 40 were not important but that the world cannot pretend they were the only victims of terror.
A Russia Today report once posited that, “You’ve probably got more chance of being killed by a lightning strike than by terrorists in Europe but the odds are greater in Africa.”
Why then has the Western media spread the misleading subtleties of Europe under attack while the rest of the world enjoys peace? One argument has been that governments want to use the “We are being attacked” argument to get more control over citizens under the guise of stricter controls. Western governments have been accused of using the “war on terror” as a pretext to restrict civilian freedoms and justify their intervention in the oil-rich Middle East. Civilians’ calls and emails are being intercepted thus destroying privacy in every sense of the word. It is in times like these that the likes of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange rise to spill some truth on the goings on behind closed doors and they are declared the enemies helping terrorist advances. What seems likely is that the Western governments themselves have become their own home-made terrorist cabals using sensationalized reports of terror attacks as the fuel to their flames. The moment an American is told of an impending replay of 9/11, he suddenly becomes a staunch Trump supporter. This manipulation has been the reality of the West.
What seems likely is that the Western governments themselves have become their own home-made terrorist cabals
Related: Boko Haram Terrors in West Africa
Another reason the West could be downplaying African atrocities by terror groups is simply the high regard the West has for itself. The fact that the West believes itself to be the civilized lot has proved to be problematic in more ways than can be said. It formed the basis of colonial attacks as the whites came with ideas they thought proved they were a superior race. It is interesting how the mistaken conception of lack of melanin being equated to higher mental aptitude is still a reality of the 21st century. The West still has a need to play the victim, claiming to be attacked by savage Muslims. In this conspiracy of the Islamic people against the West, Africa does not fit in since only the “civilized” are being attacked. Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster admitted, “We in the West must be seen to be the prime targets of the terrorists, even though we’ve been backing the same people in Syria and turned a blind eye when they murdered civilians there. It’s our values and our way of life which is being threatened and no one else’s.”
This pretty much sums the Western frame of mind as exposed by Neil Clark.
In 2015, Simon Allison wrote a moving piece for the Daily Maverick which he gave the title, “I am Charlie, but I am Baga too.”
“If you thought 17 dead in Paris was bad enough for one week, you were wrong. In Nigeria, more than 2,000 people are feared dead after Boko Haram launched its deadliest-ever attack on a strategic north-eastern town. But where are the solidarity marches, the passionate editorials and the international condemnations? Some lives, it seems are more valuable than others,” ran the passionate article about the media instituted injustice. What was particularly sad was the lack of coverage by the African media itself let alone the West.
What was particularly sad was the lack of coverage by the African media itself let alone the West. It has been a fact of the past few years that racism is still existent especially when it comes to weighing lives. The land grabs of Zimbabwe were condemned world over and declared absolute atrocities yet in reality no more than 160 lives were lost from both sides. This was in sharp contrast to the 100,000 people killed according to David Frost. Seumas Milne exposed these misconceptions in an essay highlighting the gross exaggeration of the violence that took place in Zimbabwe. These were white lives being attacked and the world would make noise. 160 lives were equated to 100,000 because of skin color.
160 lives were equated to 100,000 because of skin color.
Again in 2015, 2,000 black lives were reduced to less than 17 Parisians and thus ignored. The infuriating part is that local media quickly catches on and buys into the Western sensationalized reports of “Europe under attack” passing them out to Africans, ignoring African attacks. African leaders are also deafeningly quiet about African attacks yet they hop onto the little trains of sycophancy the moment Europe is attacked. Before foreigners can respect African lives, African leaders and African media must lead the way. African lives matter too.
Tatenda is an advocate of cultural identity and African development. Interact with him on http://africanaforum.blogspot.com/
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