International columnist, political analyst and senior journalist Ahmed Mohiuddin Siddiqui’s articles are published across Asia, Africa and Europe. He writes for The Moroccan Times, The Tunis Times, India Tomorrow, Kohram News, The Etemaad Urdu Daily and for news papers published from Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. You can follow him on Twitter at: @journopolana[/symple_box]
It’s been a terrible weekend as the world is still reeling from the senses-numbing shock of the ghastly Paris attacks that were enacted by the ISIS terrorists in the French capital. This was the worst attack on the French people and the French soil since the World War II in 1945. The death toll which is mounting by the day has already left 130 souls.
Many media channels in the western world and India are obsessed with a 24-hour coverage of the Paris attacks while ignoring the dastardly attacks in Beirut and Baghdad. There is a collective support of “Nous sommes français” and “Je Suis Paris” which echoes throughout the uncountable social media users’ accounts on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has launched its security check feature and hundreds have been ‘marked safe’ much to the relief of their near and dear ones around the world. People across Facebook and Twitter have been changing their profile pictures to the blue, white and red filter showing their solidarity and support for the victims in Paris. Many important landmarks in the world including some in India have been illuminated in the tricolours of the French flag. Suddenly, the focus of the G 20 Summit in Turkey has changed. The Paris attacks have taken over the agenda. Terrorism is suddenly on the diplomatic table because the victims are from the West.
Why has it taken so much time for the world to realise the threat posed by the terror outfit – ISIS. This attack has shaken the world out of deep slumber and a new realisation has dawned about the threat of the unIslamic State. Does changing the profile pictures to the French flag or posting pictures on Facebook or Twitter from the past vacations in France and the Eiffel Tower really make a much-needed difference to deter the terrorists?
The Lebanese users across Twitter and Facebook are bewildered as to why their disaster has not received similar coverage in the world media and support of the world leaders? They are particularly peeved that the American President Barack Obama has ignored them in his address. Perhaps, Facebook does not consider the Lebanese to be human enough for safety check as is done in the case of the Parisians. The bombings in Lebanon did not draw a deluge of tweets from World leaders and the so-called celebrities. There have been no live 24-hour media coverage or blogs from the Western media. Indian media is no different. Many Indian news channels have reporters in Paris reporting live 24 hours. For them, the Lebanese or the Iraqis do not matter. Baghdad has been reduced to a city of death by the ISIS with everyday bombings and man slaughter. No thought for the Kurds and the Yazidis slaughtered every day? It does not shake the collective conscience of the world!
‘Where were the World leaders and the media when suicide attacks killed 41 people in Beirut two days ago? There were no Lebanese flag filters on the social media. There were no Kenyan flag filters too on the social media after the Al Qaeda attack on Garissa University that killed 150 people in Kenya? Where were these social media flag bearers hiding when Boko Haram razed the town of Baja and killed more than 2,000 people in the restless Nigeria? Where were the world leaders when there was a Muslim genocide in the western state of Gujarat in India that killed more than 3,000 innocent people in 2002? Where were the flag bearers hibernating on the social media when India was a victim of the 26/11 terrorist attack? What is the international community doing to end the strife in Syria and the genocide of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar now? There has been no outpouring of grief for these souls! There is a collective agreed silence from the West and the Western media on all these incidents.
There have been similar terrorist attacks in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, Yemen, Cameroon, Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. But it was only after the Paris attacks that President Obama’s noble thoughts came to the fore: “This is an attack not just on Paris…this is an attack on all of humanity.” Were the Beirut attack and the Garissa University attack, not attacks on humanity? Is the Syrian embroglio that is causing people to leave their homes for alien lands, not an attack on humanity?
Why does this panic reaction to the Paris attacks reach such frenzied proportions of outrage because it happened in a European country? And to the European people? It may be recalled that after the Charlie Hebdo shooting about four dozen world leaders and nearly 1.5 million people took part in a unity march to honour the 17 victims, the same drama will probably be enacted for the Paris attack victims.
Will the international community and the world media answer this pertinent question: Are Parisians’ lives more sacrosanct and valuable than others? Do you weigh European lives more precious than those of the Syrians, the Lebanese or the Iraqis or the Palestinians?
France has just now experienced what the Syrians and Iraqis have been experiencing for the past couple of years with the rise of the dreaded unIslamic State. It is not just enough to change the profile pictures on the social to express solidarity with the Parisians while ignoring the Syrians, the Lebanese and others.
Surely, Europe and the western world need another Renaissance where all human lives are precious and valuable without any distinction. My thoughts and prayers are with the French people, the Lebanese, the Syrians, the Iraqis, the Palestinians, the Rohingyas and all the victims of terrorism worldwide. ISIS needs to be eliminated and not ‘contained’ or ‘defeated.’ Both President Obama and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton need to revisit strategies as far as the ISIS menace is concerned. Syrian President Bashar al Assad is at the root of the problem. Uproot Assad and take the wind out of the sails of the ISIS at one go. It will help solve the Syrian and Iraqi refugee problem too. The ISIS and Al Qaeda must be taken head on. The displaced refugees will come back home to make a new humble beginning, if these forces are ‘eliminated’ for all times.