Why Do We Personalize Tragedies In The Civilized World and Alienate Other Victims?
Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, is always trending — except not in the way that incites #PrayFor applications or the leaders of civilized nations — who publicly express their condolences — by condemning another “senseless act,” while pledging as always to vanquish the evil doers.
More than 500 have either died or are seriously injured — after what has been described as “the most lethal terrorist acts anywhere in the world for many years” took place via a fully-equipped truck — carrying an astounding amount of “military-grade and homemade explosives.”
The blast was so intense — that it literally grazed a slew of victims that were in the vicinity of the explosion. This technically means that there will never be an accurate count of the deceased. It also indicates that there are families crying themselves senseless over the realization that their loved ones have suddenly become unidentifiable.
What really freaks me out — is how very little attention is ever paid to disasters that occur in places that rarely if ever inspire the exchange of avatars or the emphatic denouncement by world leaders — who have no issue exploring the offshore possibilities of a country that’s undergoing the same treatment Nigeria is experiencing — at the hands of power-hungry militants.
When the Nigerian schoolgirls went missing back in April of 2014 — it happened a week before a prophetic conversation with a close friend. She’d heard me talk about Boko Haram since 2009 — when the madness began and I was worried as fuck about my parents who live in Abuja — and are always at risk — particularly during the holidays.
Literally days later — the girls were kidnapped in the dead of night — while sleeping in their dorm beds. I was a boarder by the age of eleven — and the nightmare of what those girls experienced gave me chills — as I relived my days and added the horror of what thankfully never happened to me.
Of course — once the tragedy became an international crisis — everyone was begging for the return of the girls. Movie stars posed with placards on the red carpet while doing press in luxurious locales — that typically get all the attention when bombs explode and threaten gorgeous cities like Brussels.
The point is that people really care when notables and the opportunity to be “click-activists” — become irresistible options.
Let’s consider that if former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama — had bothered to recognize the heartbreaking circumstances in Somalia — perhaps that would’ve encouraged your need to add on to the thousands of retweets and likes.
President Trump has no idea what “a Mogadishu” is so he doesn’t count.
What does matter — is how we personalize tragedies in certain parts of the globe that are strategically situated for our adulation. The wreckage of the attacks are shared and re-shared with the tear-inducing accounts from survivors and the statements from loved ones — who are able to give the dead — some form of dignity.
If you Google all the noteworthy territories that have been held under siege by terrorists — you will quickly stumble upon shrines that detail the human side of what is collectively received as the worst thing ever to happen — to date. The faces are attached to content that can be traced to social platforms that depict active lives that were shining through vibrant photos and transcripts — revealing what the dead were like — when they were breathing.
This ritual is never applied to the casualties in the countries you know about but don’t really care about. You know they exist, but every time the headlines pop up — it’s the same offering. The body count is the mimics the week before — and the images reflect what is commonly associated with citizens of war zones that will never stop burning.
Yes, Harvey Weinstein was a slimeball for trying to fuck beautiful women — and no, it doesn’t matter what you wear or whether or not you could be mistaken for Kate Upton’s younger sister.
But, while we navigate the treacherous currents of an industry that pays its members millions to remain neutrally-aloof until shit hits the fan — let’s also examine why it’s necessary to #PrayFor glitzy towns that give baecations extra “likes” and #goalsforlife — and outrightly reject those emotions — when it comes to areas that could’ve been considered paradise — if only the resources could promise stability.
This isn’t my middle finger to those who don’t want to be bothered — because more than anything — I get why time can’t be wasted on a tweet that nobody will notice.
Yet, we have to check out the fact that even our heroes aren’t bothered by the blast that killed more Somalis than we will ever know. And none of the outlets will bother to investigate because being a journalist demands your prowess with viral tendencies.
Still, we can’t escape the unevenness of reportage and the callousness of the Western world that still punishes indigenes for being too native. It’s ironic that the territories that were historically invaded by European pirates — never seem to garner the level of interest that the sands of gold and oil swamps initiated.
The victims of the Mogadishu blast — won’t have any images to warm our hearts or give our tear buds a cleanse — but, I see them, and you can to — if you try.