My cursor hovered over the option to edit my profile picture by placing a Belgium flag overlay. In the wake of another tragic attack globally, the least I could do was click a button and show support with the nation’s colors over my photo.
I chose not to. Not because my heart doesn’t mourn for Brussels. I feel for Brussels and mourn alongside the country as I did when I sent out that #JeSuisParis hashtag months back.
The point of the overlay, in my opinion, is to show solidarity with a nation struck by tragedy. To show them, across landmasses and oceans, there are people standing with them; unflinching in the face of terror. That there is strength in numbers, globally.
But, is there?
What about Ankara?
What about Istanbul?
What about Magiduri?
In Ankara, 37 people were slain as a car bomb exploded in the Turkish capital.
In Istanbul, five dead while thirty-six hospitalized.
22 killed, as a mosque is attacked by 2 female suicide bombers in Magiduri.
These incidents received barely any media coverage. Surely, not enough or not nearly the levels of support being shown for Brussels. As I scrolled my newsfeed, dissenters to the changing of your profile pic appeared.
One thing stuck out to me. Accusations the media wants you to mourn what they see fit for your mourning.
The media has been known to be askew from time to time, sure. I still am weary to agree with the person who spends most their Facebook time posting anti-government rhetoric. It kickstarted my brain though. Why? Why didn’t I have the option to support Ankara, Istanbul or Magiduri.
Quite frankly, as someone who tries to stay informed and up to date globally, why had I barely heard anything about these events? Was the media out to funnel my interest into certain tragedies as it saw fit?
The answer to me is far more chilling.
As a whole, we have turned our backs on parts of the world. We simply don’t care as much when terror effects Turkey and Nigeria and other “lesser” countries around the world. The violence occurring in Turkey, in Iraq, in Nigeria has become so commonplace it is no longer newsworthy to us. We do not feel the need to plaster support and solidarity for these places. Same way we don’t feel it our responsibility to support refugees from utterly destroyed nations.
What does this mean? To me, it means we aren’t actually standing up to terror. We are picking and choosing our battles; the ones hitting too close to home, while almost completely ignoring those occurring beyond the shadows.
When the world turns it’s back on you, you turn your back on the world!
I sit there, watching The Lion King for what must be the billionth time, and these words spring out at me. Have we turned our back on parts of the world? What message does this send?
Does the overlay flag of Brussels or Paris send a different kind of message to Ankara, Istanbul and Magiduri? To me, it says we don’t care.
You are not one of us.
We don’t care when your women and children die because they are not our women and children.
You are used to terror, so we don’t care.
It seems to me, we need to overlay a picture of the world over our photos, because the pain and the terror isn’t located only in Brussels. We are reeling everywhere.
The scary reality is the media shows us what we want to see. It doesn’t show us things we don’t care about.
It is time to care beyond the strikes that hit too close to home. It’s time to spread our compassion and support beyond our plastered walls of cozy comfort.
Maybe the countries who face this brutal reality on a regular basis- maybe they need to know we stand here across landmasses and oceans in solidarity with them too.
We will not defeat those who try to destroy us by allowing their terror to reign freely over those we deem less important. It is time to show support to those affected the most by terrorism, and not just those closest to us culturally.
It’s time we stop turning our back.
I am tired of waking up, looking at my children and knowing somewhere in the world someone is waking up, not to their child’s smile, but to their child’s lifeless body. I am tired of religion and culture getting in the way of human decency. I am tired of women and children dying.