I guess we all remember what happened in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris a few months ago where 17 people were shot dead. Just a week ago another deadly attack took place in Kenya when a few gunmen entered the Garissa University College and killed 148 people.
It seems like the two attacks have nothing in common, however by looking closer to what happened you’ll realize that this is not the case.
Al Qaeda’s group based in Yemen claimed responsibility about what happened in Charlie Hebdo mentioning that their goal was to take revenge for insults about the prophet Muhammad. Regarding Kenya’s massacre, an Islamist militant group based in Somalia, Al-Shabaab, took responsibility for shooting many Christians, students of Garissa.
So both of the attacks were claimed by terrorist organizations afterwards and moreover both of them were religiously motivated.
However, the main difference regards the days that followed the attacks.
The magazine’s deadly attack sparked a series of protests not only in Paris, but also in many parts of the world like Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Manhattan and many others. The well-known “Je suis Charlie” immediately became the protests’ slogan. In addition, the world’s leaders rushed to pay their respects to the victims’ families hours after the attack. All the above were more than enough to transform Hebdo’s victims into modern ‘heroes’.
But what about Kenya? Despite that many more people were shot dead in Kenya than in Hebdo, protests took place only in Kenya. High placed politicians from around the world didn’t refer to the attack. We never heard of a slogan like “Je suis Kenya” and it seems that the victims didn’t equal to contemporary heroes.
In contrast to Charlie Hebdo’s massacre, media from all around the world neither hustle to visit Kenya and report from there just a few hours after the attack, nor placed the attack on their front page on a daily basis. Is it because stories from Kenya don’t sell as much as stories from a European capital? Or just because we think people in Africa die every day so we consider their lives inferior to ours?
While Hebdo’s attack will go down in history, we won’t even remember what happened in Kenya a year from now. To put it in simple words, what happened in Kenya didn’t manage to gain our sympathy.
This is a proof that the world is divided and it’s clear that it’s ‘us‘ and ‘them‘. And when it comes to ‘us’ or ‘them’, ‘us’ will always win.
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