Illustration by Lottie Handley
After receiving the BBC News notification informing me of the Paris Attacks, November 13th, I naively looked to social media for further information.
I felt compelled to join in with posting the translucent tricolour version of my profile picture. I first thought my decision to pay my respects in a visual way was based upon the shock factor that a city I am so fond of and have often visited could suffer unimaginable horror.
The rest of Friday night consisted of following the live streams on BBC news and watching the French flag flood social media. In the meantime, news of Thursday's suicide bombings in Beirut killing 43 people and wounding a further 239 was forced into its shadow.
France’s tricolour was soon plastered on landmarks worldwide. However, we should be mourning for human loss at large. Where were the Lebanese, Japanese and Iraqi flags? Flags of countries whose citizens are also suffering in light of current terror issues and natural disasters.
The realisation that I had succumbed to popular media trends and had remained oblivious to the tragedy which had occurred in Beirut provoked me to consider the extent to which Eurocentrism is damaging us as people. The media’s prioritised coverage of European news moulds and dictates our view of the world and is something we need to change in order to defeat terrorism. Whilst binary relationships exist, disenfranchised youth are prevented from integrating into European society. It is this which fuels extremist ideologies.
Participating in the dissemination of the French flag promotes elitist mourning and carries great political significance. Conveying your support by changing your profile picture on Facebook makes you a participant in the accession of Western supremacy.
There is no immediate political move which can pacify such acts of terror. However, it is possible to begin removing the episteme which fuels their actions. IS should be ostracized by appealing to humanity, regardless of religion or ethnicity we all share the same value for life. It is through this we as global citizens should unite.
Here in the heart of London we hold a geographically and culturally close relationship with Paris. Many of us frequently visit or have originate from there. We here are also affected by the knowledge that seven attempts of terrorist attacks have been contained this year, the victims in France could just have easily have been you or me.
Hypothetically, if someone you knew and loved suffered in the attacks on France, the knowledge that respects were being paid to those lost would offer slight comfort to you and your family. Now, imagine your family had been affected by the Beirut bombings on November 12th. The global media has cast this news as inferior. The devastation is of equal importance and sadness but we seem to be prioritise the attacks on France, arguably what we deem more important because we can relate culturally to them.
It is not reasonable to highlight the tragedy on the premise the attacks were closer to home, literally and metaphorically. Conditions in Beirut on an everyday level can be considered a tragedy in itself, yet this doesn’t appear as a concern in Western news, or as a cause for donation. I only ask you to think why. It is unquestionable that all human victims are worthy of our mourning. We cannot prevent media from using bias headlines and front page coverage, but we can stop allowing this to dictate us into consciously or unconsciously promoting Eurocentrism. Fractions in society stem from our inability to register one another's similarities opposed to differences, and it is from this that extremist culture originates. Stand up to popular media.
Stand up for humanity.