Photo: Men mourning the deaths of their relatives, photo taken from http://tribune.com.pk/story/1073825/blast-in-lahore-leaves-several-injured/
On Tuesday, March 22, members of the Islamic State militant group attacked Brussels, detonating bombs in three locations that killed 35 and injured another 340. This was the largest terrorist attack in Europe since the November 2015 Paris attack that left 129 dead and over 352 wounded. For both attacks, the world has mourned, with people throwing up #JeSuisParis and artists flooding social media to show their solitary for those lost.
And yet, in the interim, non-Western countries have experienced dozens, even hundreds, of terrorist attacks that have left thousands dead – almost all of which have been greeted by media silence. On January 7, 2016, a suicide truck was detonated in Libya, killing 60 and injuring 200. Less than two weeks later on January 16, Islamic State militants attacked neighborhoods in Syria, killing over 135 and wounding an additional 300. On January 31, at least 60 were killed and 110 wounded in the Sayyidah Zaynab bombings in Syria. On February 21, there was another series of bombing in the same area that killed over 80 and wounded an additional 180. A week later on February 28, 78 were killed and over 100 wounded in a bombing in Iraq. A week later, there was another bombing in Iraq that killed 61 and wounded 95. A week later in Turkey, there was a bombing that killed 37 and wounded 125. And just yesterday in Lahore, Pakistan, 72 people were killed and 340 injured in a bombing at a park. Women and children were present. And these are just a fraction of what has happened in the last three months.
I do not mean to disparage those lost in Paris or Brussels, but there should be room in our compassion and in our media to learn about these attacks. Our news stations should not be flooding the channels with the same recycled nonsense of anti-Muslim and racist rhetoric. They should be doing their job, reporting the news, rounding out our understanding of the world, and showing us a diverse picture of it. We should not have to go to a Wikipedia article to hear about those lost in terrorist attacks. We should not be simultaneously lulled and terrified by the incorrect notion that only the West experiences terrorist attacks. We should not wait to intervene, send aid, or initiate diplomacy until the bombs blow up on our front steps. We should be informed. We should be knowledgeable. And, above all, we should be compassionate.
So every once in a while, do yourself a favor and check out the above Wikipedia page. Click on articles about those lost in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Pakistan. Look at the faces of those lost to terror. Note that they’re almost always Muslim. Give to refugee programs. Speak out against racism and bigotry. Publically mourn for the dead and injured. Those who have suffered from the hands of extremism deserve your compassion and prayers, even if they’re not Western.