What type of terrorist devastation is newsworthy? What makes a piece of the world and the people on it worth mourning, worth remembering, worth discussing, or worth praying for?
Globally, more attention is brought to terrorism carried out in peaceful and prosperous areas. But does it make those areas where deadly terror attacks occur that are not first world, or perhaps subject to such hits more often than not, any less worthy of our notice?
It seems that every time a part of the world, such as Europe or the United States, suffers such a devastation, the world is made aware, and we cry together. But then comes the news that days before, days after, or perhaps on the same day, another terrifying terrorist attack occurred in another part of the world, and no one seemed to care.
Brussels was rocked by explosions that left at least 34 dead and 230 injured just days after the Paris massacre that killed 130 and injured hundreds. Both incidents shook the globe, yet just days before either of these attacks, there were actually two bombings in Turkey that you likely didn’t heard about.
When gunmen opened fire on the Paris offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people, “Je Suis Charlie” became a worldwide response. And #PrayForParis followed the Paris attacks.
“Can you imagine the victims? The teenagers catching the bus to go home, the grandparents walking into town, the people waiting for a taxi after a long day laughing and socializing in the sun,” lamented James Taylor, a 23-year-old resident of the Turkish capital, Ankara, in his March 13 post. “It is very easy to look at terror attacks that happen in London, in New York, in Paris and feel pain and sadness for those victims, so why is it not the same for Ankara?”
Yet despite Taylor’s and others’ thoughts on the matter, there was still little to be said in response to another deadly terror attack which involved a suicide bombing on Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport last Tuesday.
“You were Charlie, you were Paris. Will you be Ankara?” asked Taylor in another post hours after the deadly car bomb shook the city of 4.5 million, killing 41 people and injuring 239. Taylor claimed the attack “is the equivalent of a bomb going off outside Debenhams on the Drapery in Northampton, or on New street in Birmingham, or Piccadilly Circus in London, ” yet there seemed to be radio silence like too many times before.
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While people around the world changed their Facebook pictures with the colors of the French flag to mourn those lost in the Paris attacks, and people came together in numerous parts of the world to pay tribute, only a handful of countries lit up buildings or monuments in Turkish flag colors to recognize those who suffered injuries and death at the hands of terrorists in Istanbul. And while Facebook turned on its safety check feature, which allows users to mark themselves as safe during a crisis, which, for instance, they did for Paris, it did not provide a filter for users to modify their profile picture with an overlay of the Turkish flag.
And while the World Trade Center lit up in Belgium’s and France’s flag colors after their attacks, they did not light up in Turkish colors this time. Furthermore, the absence of vigils honoring the dead proved worrisome.
“It is very easy to look at terror attacks that happen in London, in New York, in Paris and feel pain and sadness for those victims, so why is it not the same for Ankara?” Taylor wrote. “Is it because you just don’t [realize] that Ankara is no different from any of these cities? Is it because you think that Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country, like Syria, like Iraq, like countries that are in a state of civil war, so therefore it must be the same and because you don’t care about those ones, then why should you care about Turkey?”
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