The Student Blog Post series invites students from my PLS 321: Electoral Process course to author their own blogs about recent election events.
On Thursday, November 12th, an estimated 43 people were killed and over 200 were injured in twin bombings administered by ISIS in Beirut, Lebanon. There has been little mainstream coverage of this terrorist attack in light of the Paris bombings that occurred the following day. As far as social media goes, almost every social network has been filled with support for Paris with people changing their profile picture to the colors of the French flag and using various hashtags. This overwhelming support for Paris has made it seem that Beirut was left in the ashes, with some calling the lack of media coverage on Beirut racist.
Certain groups have criticized people for only showing support for the predominantly Caucasian European nation, stating that attacks like these occur every day in the Middle East while Westerners show little to no remorse. In a viral interview with Rania Masri, an activist professor of political ecology in Lebanon, she stated that while there is coverage of the bombings in Beirut, it’s also deeply, deeply racist. That it’s also–in our own deaths you have this Western press that refuses to humanize us even in our deaths. Not only when we’re living are we not humanized and are we neglected and disregarded, and there’s all this racist language against us, but even when we die we’re not even recognized as people. Because of mainstream media, many westerners will perceive most Middle Eastern countries as an area of danger and war and do not realize that bombings like Beirut are occurring in civilian neighborhoods where everyday innocent lives are being lost.
On the other end of the spectrum, people are arguing that they should not feel guilty or racist for their support of Paris because this attack was completely unexpected. U.S. citizens tend to be more familiar with Paris over Beirut and the reality is that it is safer than many other countries.
Because so many people have made this an issue about racism, it seems that they are making the divide between countries even worse. Everyone is expressing their differences without realizing their commonalities. There is a serious lack of unification, which definitely needs to be addressed in media. In light of these attacks, global support of one another needs to largely be vocalized. Although Americans are more familiar with Paris, hopefully these attacks will shed some light on the parallels and more will realize that other countries are terrorized by ISIS and we will all come together.
Raquel Ortega is a third year political science major who is involved in the Fashion Society and Chi Omega sorority at Cal Poly Pomona.