A few weeks ago several attacks from Islamist extremists took place in just seven days: the attack on Charlie Hebdo, a reaction over an illustration that killed 17 people; and a series of attacks by the Boko Haram in Nigeria, killing a minimum of 150 people.
The western world reacted in indignation to the killings in France, yet somehow the killings in Nigeria were glazed over. The western world cared more about an attack on free speech than on the massacre of Nigerians by a group that has, according to the Council of Foreign Relations, killed more than 10,000 people.
France’s tragedy made front-page news in U.S. newspapers such as the New York Times for several days in a row. The Boko Haram attacks were given no such distinction.
We The Threefold Advocate propose that the reason behind the unbalanced coverage resulted from our country’s fear of facing the same treatment.
We as Americans take interest in the situations that could potentially impact us. Yes, Nigerians killing other Nigerians is horrible, but the chance of such a situation happening on that scale in the U.S. seems small. Distant. Not an issue. We can label the circumstance as a horrible problem, but also as a Nigerian problem, and one that we don’t need to worry ourselves about; the possibility of the Boko Haram invading the U.S. is not on our radar.
But threaten a western country’s free speech, and the U.S. cares. The idea of someone attacking our right to free speech is unnerving. We don’t want terrorists attacking our news organizations. We don’t want terrorists attacking us period.
So more than 150 people die in a week, and we don’t seem to care.
We The Threefold encourage readers to make a point of taking interest in the world on a global level, and not just in the places that affect us personally. We urge readers to pray for and care about people hurting in far-off countries, facing horrors that we will probably never face.
Sometimes this requires looking beyond the front page of a newspaper and reading stories about situations that aren’t necessarily the most discussed topics or the most popularized social justice fads.
We should care about events that could one day affect us, such as the Charlie Hebdo attack. This doesn’t, however, give us the excuse to ignore the rest of the planet.