The Mogadishu Terrorist Attack: No Tears for Somalia?

On Saturday, Somalia was shaken by the deadliest attack the East African nation has ever witnessed. A bomb blast ripped through the capital city of Mogadishu, leaving over 500 people injured. As I write this the death toll stands at 302, although this is expected to increase. When such devastating attacks like this take place, you would expect public outcry and condemnation to appear immediately.With many previous atrocities that have not affected the West, the reaction has been quieter, with many remaining silent. The Mogadishu terrorist attack is no different. We’ve shed tears over Paris,​ ​Nice,​ ​Barcelona,​ ​Manchester​ ​and​ ​London. ​So​ ​I​ ​ask,​ ​do​ ​we​ ​have​ ​no​ ​tears​ ​for​ ​Somalia?  

It is apparent that heinous actions and catastrophic disasters that happen in that part of the world do not seem to match up to, or have the same media value, as those which take place in the West. This Monday morning, only one of the national newspapers in the UK, the Guardian, chose to make the Mogadishu attack front page news. For the others, this story has somehow skipped their headlines for today. When compared to two days after the Manchester terror attack in May 2017, every national newspaper front page was covering that story. Yes, Manchester is in the UK and we probably are more inclined to feel impacted by something happening closer to home. But over 300 people have lost their lives in a senseless attack and yet little noise is being made about it in comparison. Much like the mudslides in Sierra Leone in August that ​left an estimated over 1000 dead​, the tragedy in Somalia has been met largely with silence. Scrolling through Instagram, my feed is clear of celebrities posting their prayers for the country, Facebook doesn’t have a photo filter with the Somali flag to show support, and I’m​ ​still​ ​waiting​ ​for​ ​the​ ​one-minute​ ​silence​ ​to​ ​be​ ​held​ ​for​ ​all​ ​the​ ​lives​ ​lost.  

LAPP, LAPP The Brand, Womanhood, Feminism, Leomie Anderson, Somalia, Mogadishu Terrorist Attack

Source: Twitter @malonebarry

I’m not here to completely criticise the mainstream media in their coverage of this tragic event, as some efforts have been made. However my main question is, “Where is the collective outrage?” Back in January 2015, the terrorist attacks at the Charlie Hebdo offices and other locations in Paris took place. For the next few weeks, everywhere I turned I could see the statement, “je suis Charlie” graffitied, tweeted, drawn, you name it, it was there. Even Hollywood’s elite, as they walked the Oscars red carpet a few weeks later, wore badges with the phrase showing that they supported France. Never have I seen such unity for an incident further East or South of the world. And again here we are, with over 300 dead in Mogadishu, without​ ​a​ ​similar​ ​reaction.  

LAPP, LAPP The Brand, Womanhood, Feminism, Leomie Anderson, Somalia, Mogadishu Terrorist Attack

Source: Gianluca Costantini

Somehow​ ​we​ ​are​ ​able​ ​to​ ​grieve​ ​for​ ​the​ ​lives​ ​lost​ ​in​ ​Las​ ​Vegas,​ ​Orlando,​ ​Brussels and​ ​the​ ​list​ ​goes​ ​on.​ ​However​ ​when​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​Mogadishu,​ ​why​ ​is​ ​it​ ​that​ ​our​ ​grief​ ​is​ ​not extended​ ​to​ ​the​ ​people​ ​of​ ​Somalia?​ ​Is​ ​it​ ​because​ ​they​ ​are​ ​from​ ​a​ ​developing​ ​nation​ ​-​ ​an​ ​African country​ ​that​ ​has​ ​faced​ ​the​ ​likes​ ​of​ ​civil​ ​war,​ ​droughts​ ​and​ ​previous​ ​terrorist​ ​attacks?​ ​We​ ​have become​ ​so​ ​conditioned​ ​to​ ​the​ ​fact​ ​that​ ​bad​ ​things​ ​are​ ​“meant”​ ​to​ ​happen​ ​in​ ​Africa,​ ​that​ ​there​ ​is no​ ​joy​ ​or​ ​peace​ ​there,​ ​so​ ​this​ ​is​ ​just​ ​a​ ​normal​ ​situation.​ ​Our​ ​compassion​ ​is​ ​limited​ ​to​ ​those​ ​that this​ ​would​ ​“never”​ ​happen​ ​to​ ​and​ ​so​ ​we​ ​lack​ ​emotion​ ​for​ ​the​ ​victims​ ​in​ ​Mogadishu.​ ​When​ ​the  Paris​ ​attacks​ ​happened,​ ​world​ ​leaders​ ​were​ ​quick​ ​to​ ​land​ ​in​ ​the​ ​city​ ​and​ ​walk​ ​arm​ ​in​ ​arm​ ​as they​ ​marched​ ​in​ ​solidarity​ ​with​ ​one​ ​another.​ ​​It’s​ ​not​ ​just​ ​us​ ​who​ ​have​ ​selective​ ​sympathy,​ ​but also​ ​our​ ​leaders.​ ​We’ve​ ​all​ ​limited​ ​our​ ​sadness,​ ​tears​ ​and​ ​anguish​ ​to​ ​disasters​ ​that​ ​affect​ ​those that​ ​seem​ ​closer​ ​to​ ​us​ ​geographically​ ​and​ ​culturally.​ ​But​ ​a​ ​life​ ​is​ ​a​ ​life​ ​and​ ​we​ ​should​ ​be​ ​just​ ​as devastated​ ​about​ ​the​ ​killings​ ​in​ ​Somalia​ ​as​ ​we​ ​are​ ​about​ ​the​ ​ones​ ​that​ ​have​ ​happened​ ​in​ ​the UK,​ ​France​ ​and​ ​the​ ​USA.  


Written by Aisha Rimi


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