Why is everyone talking about France and almost no one is talking about Nigeria? To prove my point – here are three questions:
- Can you tell me what act of terrorism happened in France earlier this month?
- Can you tell me what act of terrorism happened in Nigeria earlier this month?
- Can you tell me what cities both of these atrocities occurred in?
My guess is you know some details about what happened in Paris, France, but may not be familiar with what happened in Baga, Nigeria.
When I googled “Paris attack” – 354,000,000 results came up. When I googled “Nigeria attack” – only 53,600,000 results. “Baga attack” only yielded 2,510,000 results.
Why do we talk a lot about the brutal terrorism where 12 innocent people were killed, but I haven’t heard anyone talk about the 2000 killed in Nigeria by terrorists except for one article in the paper? First – some facts… then some reasons.
- January 7, 2015 is when it began.
- 12 dead – including 8 journalists from the Charlie Hebdo magazine.
- Yemen’s al-Qaida branch has claimed responsibility (Islamic extremists)
- Why did they do this? Al-Qaida called it an act of revenge. The French, satirical weekly magazine has published many drawings of Muhammad over the years (which is offensive enough to Muslims), but they often make fun of Muhammad (as well as all other religious groups).
- It has been on the front page of newspapers and leading news stories on TV ever since.
- 4,000,000 people marched in the streets of Paris to oppose the terrorism, and world leaders came to show solidarity.
- From January 7-January 12, major US news stations mentioned Charlie Hebdo in 4,349 sentences.
- The attack trended on Twitter and Facebook newsfeeds. The police officer that was killed in Paris has his own hashtag now #JeSuisAhmed – and there are many other hashtags supporting Paris on social media as well.
- January 3, 2015 is when it began.
- It is estimated that about 2000 are dead, but it isn’t confirmed. Many are missing. Bodies are still being discovered.
- 30,000 more people are said to have fled their homes.
- Boko Haram is responsible (they are clearly Islamic extremists). You may be familiar with this group because the kidnapped 276 school girls last year (219 are still missing).
- Why did they do this? It is for political reasons, mainly (although it is very complicated). Nigeria is basically a 50/50 Christian/Muslim country. The Muslims feel that Christians are favored (which is likely true). There is a long history here.
- It was a front page story and leading news stories for a day (maybe two).
- No one marched and no world leaders showed up to show solidarity.
- From January 7-January 12, major US news stations mentioned Baga 131 times.
- There aren’t any hashtags showing support of Nigeria.
Obviously, there are many similarities. The biggest difference is that in one terrorist act, 12 are dead. In the other, about 2000. Here is my question: why do we continue to hear about Paris on a daily basis, and virtually nothing about Nigeria? I have a few possibilities, but I’m really not sure. I would love to know what you think.
POSSIBLE REASONS WHY PARIS IS A PRIORITY AND NOT NIGERIA:
- Is it because we can relate to the culture of Paris, France much more than Nigeria? If so – that’s sad.
- Is it because we could imagine the situation in Paris happening in our country, but what happened in Nigeria couldn’t happen here? If so – that seems selfish.
- Is it because Paris is in Europe and not Africa? Is a European life more valued that an African life? I hope not.
- Is it because there is much more press in Paris than Nigeria? If so – that’s too bad that no one gets there to more fully tell the story.
- Is it because it is a regional group and not an international group? Maybe.
- Is it because we have more faith in the French government than we do in the Nigerian government? Perhaps.
- Is it because it is happening in black Africa and not northern “whiter” Africa or “white” Europe? I hope not, but am suspicious.
What am I missing? Why have we heard so much about Paris and almost nothing about Nigeria?