Why did the world stop on Charlie Hebdo killings but passed on silently on 148 Kenya students?

edited April 2015 in Pan Africanism
Africa's not white, so who cares? Almost 150 Kenyan students were killed in a terrorist attacks at Garissa University in Kenya. Where is the media coverage for this? Why aren't we talking more about this?! How can you explain to me that when 12 French journalists die in Charlie Hebdo, the whole world stands up but when hundreds of our African brothers are murdered no one seems to care?

Also read : How can Africa fight terrorism?

Islam the religion of peace?

Here is my little answer: I'm afraid it's all already been said:
Africa's not white, so who cares?
Africa is shrouded in perpetual "otherness," darkly veiled to the West. By this Imean that the west sees Africa as "others" not one of their own, if they did then their actions would follow suit.
"It's Africa, what did you expect?" is the western attitude.
Africa's failure in self-government salves western egos and eases their consciences about their past failed imperialism on the continent.

Most importantly: the violence in Africa re-enforces White perceptions of how they see and deal with their own Black populations in America so yes they make it look normal as they want to paint a picture of how Africa operates(inhuman, barbaric etc).
If you do not understand this let me further stretch it to you. How many killings do you hear about from Yemen and Syria? Day by day news breaks like this breaks: "48 people have died this morning in a suicide bomb attack!" If that story sticks for more than half a day, you have just won a free coke from me. Why? It happens all the time. People will just marvel at it for a second and no one bothers to follow up on it because it is the norm of such things in those countries.

But come on, this is Kenya. It is not a war zone. This is just plain terrorism at the heart of Africa. It should raise alarms and the world has to deal with it in solidarity but not when a black person is involved. I have always had a great edge for supporting initiatives like AU and even the UN but I see that "fairness" does not exist at all.

Ok now let us look at how my white friend answered this question on my social network

Kenya is very much off the tourist radar of all but the most adventurous Americans. A terrorist attack in France strikes close to home because people may have visited France, know someone who has visited France, or might consider visiting France in the future.

There is the perception in the United States that bad things happen in developing areas like Kenya (and Africa more generally), while they're not supposed to happen in developed countries (like the US or France). The problem here is that the countries of Africa are often conflated in terms of media coverage, and people end up fatigued with hearing about African massacres. As such, the (very mistaken) perception is that an instance like this is not outside the norm for a place like Kenya.

People in the West wonder how this could happen in France. Where were the police? Why weren't these people caught before the attack? Could this happen at home? There is the idea that this isn't supposed to happen in France.

Reporting on Africa is complicated in general. It's not as simple as us-vs.-them. In many cases, the governments under attack by Islamists are somewhat problematic in their own right. There are often stronger bonds within ethnic groups that cross national borders than there are within the countries that those national borders delineate. Complicated storylines don't play as well as simplistic ones, so the issue gets pushed to the side in favor of more marketable stories.

The Charlie Hebdo attack represented a direct affront to press freedom, a principle that is at the core of American democracy, and is generally held in high regard in Western countries with representative governments. This being a direct attack on education, particularly Western education, I don't see a significant difference on a practical level, but I think there is a difference in perception.

The Charlie Hebdo attack did not immediately resolve itself, instead resulting in several days of news coverage as the perpetrators were tracked down, then a tense standoff as they took hostages. In this respect, it wasn't unlike the Boston Marathon bombing, where the situation on the ground allowed for several days of dramatic, edge-of-your-seat news coverage.

The incident in France deliberately targeted Jews, namely a kosher deli. Antisemitism has a very ugly history in Europe, and this gave rise to larger questions about the future of Jews in Europe.

Relating to the previous point, while Christians were deliberately targeted in Kenya, many people like don't know that Kenya has a Christian population at all, and as such perceive this as more African infighting.

What is your take on this?

Also read : How can Africa fight terrorism?

Islam the religion of peace?


  • edited April 2015
    Very provocative thinking indeed. We must ask ourselves why our black lives don't matter anyway in the world except in Africa.
  • Truly a sad state of affairs, we need to educate ourselves as Africans that we matter and find the unity within ourselves as Africans to change our mindsets. We do not need the west and their media to help our situation. We need to begin to help ourselves and not to dependant on the west to determine our destiny. We are Africans we should stand together as one
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