#ParisAttacks – A Tragedy But Here Is The Thing About Selective Outrage

A coordinated set of attacks saw 129 people dead on Friday night in the France capital Paris.

Crethi Plethi / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

The attacks are cowardly, disgusting, distasteful.

For anyone to defend any attack on a way of life creates the lowest form of humanity which there is no space for really. It’s the sort of thing that changes many conversations about who we are, what we stand for and what we will do for a political or religious agenda.

All of this must be tempered with ugly realities.

Noone thinks of an attack on a way of life when talking of 200,000 people dying over 4 years in Syria. Because they are Syrians from countries whose history has not been written in colourful expression.

Selective grief and outrage is seen in the hypocrisy of social media site Facebook in its showing solidarity with France yet just a day before that, Lebanon’s Beirut had been attacked by the same people responsible for the Paris tragedy. The tragedy of Bourj el-Barajneh claimed 43 lives and was the deadliest since the civil war. That is the deadliest attack on the Lebanese way of life in over two decades. Oh but that is in a brown part of the world and should never receive the romanticism of that solidarity.

Add to that the recent tragedies in Burundi, Libya, Pakistan, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Chad and then there is an understanding  that selective outrage dehumanises people from brown countries. It surely isn’t by accident.

It says… those people do not deserve solidarity because, well they do not have a way of life to protect. It is predicated on the idea that brown countries have no history or heritage to protect. Which is why you will not get Facebook giving you an option to mourn with Lebanon or a media statement from US president Barack Obama or tweets from the famous and powerful of this world.

Some will say, why don’t brown countries just create their own media agencies to mourn their own. Hardly the point. The issues isn’t about expecting BBC or Al Jazeera to give prominence to tragedies in brown countries over others. The thing is, terror attacks need to be equally condemned, covered and the victims treated with equal compassion. We can’t say that a tragedy matters less because it is from a brown country.

The pattern is there for all to see. Not all lives matter.


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