Terror attack on Paris, 13th November 2015- A gesture of sympathy vs multi-media scandal

It’s been just over a week since the latest terrorist attack in Paris last Friday, the Western world has been thrown into a state of deep sympathy towards the 127 innocent people who died, suffered and/or lost loved ones in the vindictive Bataclan attack by ISIS.

When I first heard about the news a day after it happened, I found it depressing, and I felt sympathy towards those who were killed, injured or lost friends or family to the attack, and felt inclined to add the faded Tricolour French colours to my Facebook Profile picture, as it seemed that it was a global  gesture of solidarity and respect for the victims. One of my interviewees said that she decided to do the same gesture, as she had personal experience living in Paris in her past, so she  However, as the controversy increased, my awareness also grew of why the gesture could be easily taken as hypocrisy rather than respect. The issue would be that there is far more concern and empathy has been invested in a close-by capital in a first world country, than the mass-devastation been done by natural and unnatural (terrorist/war) damage being done in far away, poorer countries.

NOTE: It goes without saying that all those who were directly involved with the loss of their friends and loved one’s lives have every right to be outraged, hurt and upset due to the incident, and are commendable and righteous to display their genuine grief, sadness of loss and shock that this act of barbaric war  however this article is addressing why there seems to be far more attention and bias generated by those who were not in any connection with those affected by the attack, because of the western governments and media have made far more blatant display of concern of this incidence, over the other global disasters and atrocities which are taking place.

Referring to News headlines (here focussing on ‘The Independent’) and several peers for their views on the matter of the global, social and media response to the Paris bombings, I have come up with this discussion here.

According to an article in ‘The Independent‘, such a negative valence (the characterisation/categorisation for emotions, event or object) called ‘Euro Centrism’ is the reason why there has been far more exclusive focus on a terrorist attack that is closer to home in the E.U. as more sentimental and moral importance is placed upon the first-world/white citizens, with more disregard to those suffering in faraway lands. Euro-Centrism’ is when the citizens of the western/European-world are regarded in higher importance than people living in countries that are further from home. This view is in clear agreement with some of my peers who I interviewed. One person explained that it’s the right thing to do to display sympathy towards the families and friends who have so recently lost their loved ones to such a devastating, cruel and sad display of misguided belief, but there is the concern that almost on every mainstream website (such as Facebook, Youtube and Ebay) have some form of French flag on the head-banner to display their respect and condolences to all those who suffered due to the attack, where it’s more likely that these websites are just making the effort to seem more human and to raise their reputation in that way.

In regards to the public’s incentive, an interviewee said that a reason as to why they made the social-media gesture was because this kind of terrorism is regarded by many as very ordinary, but made sensational by the news

Of course, the media is quick to sensationalise anything that is so drastically out of the ordinary to create ‘News’, rather than the same-old reports of impoverished and fear-stricken innocent women and children running for their lives in search of  asylum in more peaceful countries within the Western world- but the growing number of more sceptical media-consumers have been arguing that the seemingly compassionate and empathetic gestures of world-wide Governments and mainstream-media have handled the disaster. Another interviewee claimed that as a media-reliant public, we have very little access to what is the whole truth, especially when it’s a simply known truth that governments have sent agents to represent a certain organisation to feed these ongoing conflicts, to promote the profits of war for their own interests, and that the western governments are using the media to focus on a close-to-home incident that is commonplace in the Middle-East, to distract us from the shady deals and plots of the powers that be. Well, I wouldn’t say that this is impossible to comprehend. Can you?

It isn’t wrong to display compassion for any particular event of strife, aggression, or violence; but my advice would be to also demonstrate your compassion to all the other places and people in the world where there are people suffering from war, terrorism, dictatorship, natural and unnatural disasters and so on, and to not just settle for focussing on one of these events, just because the media is selectively focussing on that. As I changed my profile picture, I also made the effort to increase the awareness of other global issues by sharing messages that concerned the Earthquakes in Japan, the Suicide Bombings in Beirut and Baghdad and the everyday atrocities of current conflicts in the Middle East, and so on.



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