#Facebook and the mainstream #Media criticised for double standards in re #Paris attacks


** Facebook gets flak for Beirut-Paris ‘double standard **

** Paris Attacks Highlight Western Vulnerability, And Our Selective Grief And Outrage  **

It’s happened before, last time – during the Charlie Hebdo attacks, and come to think of it, the charge of double standards was always going to happen again.

Facebook and the mainstream media have been severely criticised by many people on social media and writers of various publications for giving publicity to the Paris attack, but not to other similar terrorist attacks of the past and present. Critics say Facebook and the mainstream media are valuing the lives of Western victims more than those in the Middle East and other regions for example in Africa, an accusation that has been disputed by others. In a post on one Facebook wall, a writer says:

Facebook asked me if I would like to change my profile picture in support of those in Paris. I thought yes, I would like to support those who have been killed for none other than hate, intolerance and cruelty. But hold up Facebook, I think I have a better filter for you.
Nigeria- January 2015. The murder of up to 2000 civilians in Baga.
Media coverage: The headlines scrolling at the bottom of the screen whilst we watched the pursuit of the Charlie Hebdo killers.
Facebook filter: None
Syria- Death toll: 250 000+
Facebook filter: None
Kenya: April 2015. Gunmen storm Garissa University college killing 147 and injuring 79 or more.
Facebook filter: None
Lebanon: November 14th. Twin bomb attacks injuring more than 200 and killing atleast 43.
Facebook filter: None
France: Paris bombings and shootings. Atleast 128 people dead
Facebook filter: Check
Burundi: Ongoing violence and genocide. Hundreds killed since April 2015
Facebook filter: None

I unapologetically refuse to hold the lives of some higher than I do others and I refuse to selectively mourn the lives of human beings.
I pray for all. I pray for humanity.

Another writer says:

Where are the photo flags for Kenya??? Where are the “Pray for Kenya” hashtags??? Black folks support everyone else but their own even when the nation they support don’t care about black people. Y’all more worried about a European nation over an African one! ‪#‎CoonConditioned‬

Others were using hashtags including #PrayforAfrica, to match the hashtag #PrayForParis which had been trending on twitter, with one writer posting:

Africa never gets a safety button on Facebook. Africa never gets late night statements from the most powerful men and women alive and millions of online users.

Another update, from the Facebook page of Angelina Jolie says:

Whilst everyone talks about ‪#‎Paris‬ no one mentions the ‪#‎ISIS‬ attack in ‪#‎Lebanon‬ yesterday. I pray for both countries.

Another, from Stacey Patton said:

If I hear one more pundit come on the TV and say that yesterday’s attacks were the WORST in the history of France ….

When it comes to history, memory is short. Clearly the media has forgotten, willfully or otherwise, about the 1961 Massacre of Algerians in Paris. In October of that year thousands of Algerian Muslims took to the streets of Paris to peacefully demonstrate against the Algerian war, curfews and other forms of discrimination. The police and troops went on a rampage. They beat, strangled, shot, garroted, and drowned around 200 unarmed Algerians.

It’s unfortunate that the world has been reduced to this, where the violent death of people in various parts of the world causes bitter disagreements amongst the living as to which lost life was / is more worthy or which lost lives deserve more publicity??

Don’t they all deserve a mention and remembrance…?

To be honest, we shouldn’t even be asking such questions. The families of these victims, in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Algeria or Nigeria are mourning….this is a sad time for them. The common denominator is that they have all lost loved ones. Yet on social media we have reduced the deaths of their loved ones, in this sad time, to a match in populism???

Every life is valuable, every single life …and in my view every life – from the lost Syrian child who was found dead after drowning on a Turkish beach, to the missing Chibok girls, and those lost at Garissa in Kenya, even those lost last Friday in the Paris attacks, every life deserves protection, and when lost respect and remembrance.

It is when we politicize the issues instead of giving them all the respect, and a genuine heartfelt remembrance, that we have a problem.

Obviously it wouldn’t be practical to offer exactly the same amount of publicity to everyone everywhere. As the saying goes, ‘you can’t please everyone’. But at the same time an effort should be made to highlight issues that are important to your audience or users. It’s a tough one …but hopefully the mainstream media will be more balanced in their reporting of terrorist attacks happening across the world in the future. One would also hope that Facebook and other companies with millions of members from across the world will use their influence to give as much publicity to lesser known global events as well as the well-known ones.

I’ll end with a quote from the article titled ‘Paris Attacks Highlight Western Vulnerability, And Our Selective Grief And Outrage’ :

The sad reality is that these attacks will increase. You can’t stop five or eight people with a gun and a twisted ideology, just as you can’t stop an American or Australian military with a commercial, strategic and political interest in slaughter.


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