You’re probably thinking that this article will go on to harangue you about how we as a race are becoming increasingly biased and hypocritical, “praying for” Brussels and not for Pakistan. Not exactly. The aim of this article is more to provide some insight into why we tend to do this rather than why we should not do this.
So let’s discuss the media. I won’t even bother focusing on the Indian media, which feels that the weekend T20 match cannot be pushed back a page but MUST share the front page with the not-as-important Lahore bombings, but instead talk about the media in general.
In November 2015, when ISIS attacked Paris and Lebanon almost simultaneously, people began to ask why the former gained widespread international coverage whereas the latter was given more of a casual mention. One particular American newspaper even tried to justify this by stating that France is an “unusual” target, a popular tourist destination (FYI America we can’t really visit too many places in the “Middle East” thanks to you guys) and that there were “shocking” tactics used (the attack on the football stadium was particularly shocking but the attack on a football field in Lahore a couple of days ago was seemingly not). This is essentially the West confirming suspicions that to them Arab lives do indeed matter less.
What happened in Brussels was indeed devastating but so were the equally devastating attacks in the Turkish cities of Istanbul and Ankara (both of which are also “unusual” and popular tourist destinations for the record) that happened just a few weeks prior and received no more than a day’s coverage in newspapers worldwide. If you still think I’m overreacting ask yourself how much you really know about what statistics have revealed to be the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world. I’m not referring to ISIS, but to Boko Haram, who haven’t received their own spotlight since they kidnapped 276 school girls two years ago (219 still missing at last count), and have claimed thousands of lives since then including 65 in a village attack two months ago because (I’m guessing) they don’t really care about killing white people.
So do we have a tendency to turn a blind eye towards tragedies that don’t involve, the developed nations of the West or, are we merely indifferent to those that affect Arab lives? Maybe a little bit of both but not due to any form of malice in our hearts. If we see hundreds of Facebook posts, read minute to minute analyses of how the incident took place, follow the story of who the attackers were and whether they’ve been caught, listen to survivor’s tales and politician’s reactions about what happened in Paris or Brussels and only receive an update of sorts of what happened in Lebanon, Turkey or Pakistan then its almost natural that our compassion will direct itself towards the former as opposed to the latter. So by all means do pray for Brussels but also try and pray for the less popular non-white cities being affected on a more frequent and much larger scale too, and not let the media influence your thought process in any way whatsoever (ironic, I know).