The last few days have been especially deadly in terms of terror attacks around the world. But if you’re on social media, you might not even know about them.
So here’s the question: why are people not standing today in solidarity with Baghdad? Did you even know there’s a reason to? And if not, isn’t that part of the problem?
This is a Reality Check you won’t see anywhere else.
The scenes are nothing less than tragic. One of the deadliest ISIS terror attacks in all of 2016 happened over the weekend in Baghdad. Over 200 people were killed when a truck filled with explosives blew up in a busy shopping area. It was in a largely Shia community where that truck bomb detonated. Another 147 people were injured.
This is, in fact, the worst attack in Baghdad since just after the U.S. invasion in 2003. Shortly after the attack, ISIS claimed responsibility.
Then later that same day, another separate bombing killed an additional 5 people in another neighborhood in Baghdad. No question that any terror attack anywhere is a tragedy. But the hard question: do people in the West really believe that?
After the terror attacks in Paris in November of last year, tens of millions of Americans changed their profile picture on Facebook to adopt the French flag as a show of solidarity with the French people. In the Paris attacks, a lower number, 130 people were killed and several hundred injured.
After the Brussels attack in March, a much lower number, 32 people, were killed and over a hundred injured when 3 attackers detonated bombs at the Brussels airport in March of this year. And yet, Facebook and Instagram don’t offer special social media filters for Baghdad or for the Istanbul attacks in Turkey.
So the question becomes, why?
Are the calls for solidarity against terror attacks only for attacks in Orlando or in European cities?
What you need to know— actually what I would like to know because I actually don’t know— are Westerners, including Americans, so desensitized to violence in the Middle East, especially in places like Iraq and Syria, that there is no shock left?
Have we so dehumanized the suffering of people in places like Iraq that we completely dismiss violence there, even when that violence is ten times what we saw in Brussels?
And in Paris, while there has been one large-scale public attack, the people of Iraq have been living under first war, then terror, for almost 15 consecutive years. Is it because we first brought war to Iraq that a decade and a half later we still don’t stand in solidarity?
That’s Reality Check. Let’s talk about that on Twitter.