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i-ACT20 Day 2: A Life is a Life

From Paris to Nigeria, Which Violence is More Appealing?

By Gabriel Stauring


It’s all about perspective. We chose to make maps one way and not the other.

I get it. I do. Western media is going to cover events that are (or appear to be) more connected to western life. It is also going to cover what sells more commercials, gets more clicks, or in someway is more appealing to its audience.

I also hate to compare tragedies or suffering. For each person affected, suffering cannot be quantified and is so personal. But, being here in Chad this week and brushing on the periphery of some horrible events in different parts of the world, it is difficult for me to notice the ways we respond to each of them.

On our way here, we made a stop in Paris and spent some hours at the airport. At the same time, not too far from there, the largest demonstration in France’s history was declaring, “Je suis Charlie.” Over 1 million, including leaders from around the world, attended, and coverage by the world’s media was also massive. This was an appropriate response against violence.

When we made it to Chad, we heard of thousands of displaced Nigerians crossing the border, not too far from where we are. There had been a horrible massacre that killed approximately 2,000 people, many of them children. In addition to this massacre, there were two suicide bombings in crowded markets, also in Nigeria, and just yesterday, there was an attack in Cameroon, also close to the border with Chad.

I do not know the statistics, but I suspect that the media coverage of these recent events on the other side of the Chadian border was minimal, compared to the attention of the attacks in France.

We are now getting ready to go to Darfuri refugee camps on the eastern border. The Darfuri crisis is now twelve years old, and the world’s attention moved on a long time ago—even as violence continues to be at alarming levels in that region.