Why Is The World Not Standing By Somalia?

Feature Image Credit: npr.org

2017 has brought about a spur of refugees finding shelter, a series of natural disasters, gun attacks and terrorist attacks. However, one thing remains stagnant, that media bias will always be present which further attributes to the mass majority’s double standards.

The scale of news coverage is undoubtedly massive when it comes to reporting an incident in the West. On Saturday, 14 October 2017, Somalia faced its deadliest terrorist attack. The attack in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, killed at more than 300 people and injured hundreds.

Somalia’s capital suffered tremendously this year through all the terrorist attacks. Most of which were suicide attacks and car bombs. And just when Somalia was still recovering from one of the worst terrorist attacks,  a double car bombing in Mogadishu killed at least 23 people over the last weekend.

Mogadishu Attacks 2017: Al Jazeera News

Somalia’s health workers are facing a tough time in identifying and treating the burnt and injured victims. Death toll was expected to rise, as some were feared to be buried under the rubble of destroyed and damaged buildings. The Guardian revealed the 14 October attack has been blamed on Somalia’s local Islamist group, al-Shabab.

Moreover, the attack on Saturday was also claimed by al-Shabab ” an armed group fighting to overthrow Somalia’s internationally recognised government”.

This deadliest terrorist attack has been marked as one of the most fatal terrorist operations anywhere in the world in past few years. Somalia’s capital has been the target for many terrorists attacks but a deadly attack as such was the first to take place.

Mogadishu Attack On October 14: nytimes

Somalia’s government declared three days of mourning nationwide. However, on Wednesday 18 October, thousands of men and women protested through the streets of Somalia’s capital, claiming that the government did not do enough to protect them.

Abdiaziz Omar Ibrahim, told Al Jazeera his older brother has been missing since the attack and they have done all they could to find him but have left everything on Allah now.

“I went to all the hospitals in Mogadishu. I looked through all the wards, but we haven’t found him,” Ibrahim told Al Jazeera, his voice cracking over the phone as he struggled to hold back emotions.

“He has seven children. The youngest is four years old. He is the family’s only breadwinner. We don’t know if he is dead or alive,” Ibrahim said.

“I spoke to him one hour before the explosion. Now there is no trace of him.”

This is just one of the hundreds of families who have no idea where their loved ones could be at, whether are they still alive or not.

“Imagine if 250+ ppl in the US or UK or France were killed in a truck bomb. That’s what just happened in Somalia. They deserve to be mourned,” said Clint Smith, a PhD candidate at Harvard.

Image Credit: Clint Smith’s Twitter

Pakistani actor Hamza Ali Abbasi also took to twitter to share his sentiments on the world’s double standards.

Image Credit: Hamza Ali Abbasi’s Twitter

Some tweets also suggested that the world cares more when attack victims are white.

The media in the West has in many ways impacted people’s way of thinking. While scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed on the day of the terrorist attack in Somalia, I recall seeing less than 5 status updates about the attack.

Only a month back when the Las Vegas shooting occurred, people were sharing their sentiments through their status updates almost every other day.

Why the double standards, when we know it is awfully shameful and not to say wrong to have them, especially where lives are lost and destruction is caused. The Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia and African countries have been suffering media bias since decades. They have been done wrong, and when will we own up to that?

Unfortunately, changing media practices or people’s thinking is something that cannot happen overnight. It is a difficult task to raise awareness of media bias practices but perhaps one day, the world will wake up through the fair and right use of social media and their voices will be heard.

One day.


Maria Khan Safi

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