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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: While we mourn the victims of the Brussels bombings, we can’t forget the other victims of terrorism

On March 13, a suicide car bomber in Ankara, Turkey killed at least 37 people. On March 22, explosions in Brussels at an airport and subway station left at least 30 people dead. But according to the news and social media, Brussels was the only noteworthy terror attack. I saw almost no headlines about Turkey and only found out when a Facebook friend marked herself safe in Ankara after the attacks.

What about Lahore, Pakistan? Even more recently than the Brussels bombings, at least 69 people died after a bombing took place at a children’s park, but where are our hashtags and Facebook photos offering condolences for those victims? The bombing was even targeted toward Christians, a religion Western media clearly cares about. So, why are we only praying for Brussels when tragedies are happening worldwide?

A quick search on the New York Times website for articles about the attacks in Ankara and Brussels from the past 30 days shows around one page of articles and over 20 pages of articles, respectively. For Brussels, there are articles describing the events, detailed maps of where both explosions took place, pictures of the aftermath and obituaries for several, if not all, of the victims.

The articles available about the explosions in Ankara do describe the events and the conflict with the Kurds, the group responsible for the attack, but obituaries are nowhere to be found, nor is information about the damage or aftermath for everyone living in Ankara.

James Taylor, a resident of Ankara reached out in a Facebook post asking why the world would not stand with Ankara the way it did for tragedies in Western Europe. He equated the bombing in Ankara to what it would be like in any big city; waiting to take the bus home from work or being out with friends, when suddenly a car bomb rattled the square and killed innocent people who were just trying to enjoy the evening.

“If you don’t believe that these attacks in Ankara affect you, or you can’t feel the same pain you felt during the Paris or London attacks, then maybe you should stop to think why, why is it that you feel like that … You were Charlie, you were Paris. Will you be Ankara?” Taylor wrote.

This is a constant pattern of Western media bias. When Facebook profile pictures were donned with a French flag overlay after terror attacks in Paris, there was hardly any mention of the explosions in Beirut or Baghdad.

Why is there such a bias in the media? Do we identify more with the victims of the Brussels and Paris attacks because they are both Western societies? Or do we truly not understand the politics of Eastern Europe and the Middle East and think that because there is conflict in the Middle East, bombings are expected and therefore not as sad?

Is it our fault — on an individual level — if terror attacks are not as widely reported? Yes and no. News organizations like the New York Times should make an effort to write more inclusively. We simply can’t know as many details about the bombing in Turkey if those details were not reported or given to us. But what we can change on an individual level is more sharing of condolences or articles about these events on social media for Turkey, Lebanon, Pakistan and all the other countries affected by these attacks.

If enough people show that they care and take a stand, then maybe our news will become more inclusive and not deem only tragedies in the “Western World” as such and ignore what happens elsewhere.

Follow Nicole Rochon on Twitter.

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