This morning we touched on the word “metropolitan” and how that related to eurocentrism. I couldn’t help but think about the concept of eurocentrism in relation to the recent Belgium terrorist attacks. Why do we only care about the loss of life in predominately white, European countries? Why are we still in the mind of the colonizer?
Paris, and then Belgium. Every time a European country is attacked it is brought to the forefront of our attention in the western world through media outlets. The president was even criticized for not stopping his Cuban trip immediately and flying to Belgium to “stand with our allies”. But I wonder why we don’t stand by our allies or innocent lives at sake in the Middle East. Why don’t we stand for the loss of human life by heinous terrorist attacks anywhere? Even in the early hours of coverage, news outlets threw out that they suspected the perpetrators to be Syrian refugees. As if the xenophobia toward Syrian refugees wasn’t strong enough, the Western media gave Americans one more reason to fear them.
And what’s worse, European tragedies are used by the media to scare our western sensibilities. An airport and metro was attacked, filled mostly with upper and middle class Europeans, and the western world loses its mind. We like to think we’re safe in our privileged bubbles, safe to jet-set and commute in our “civilized” society. All the news outlets keep saying “what if we are next?”. And yet, these things happen in the Middle East numerous times. Where is their airtime? It’s clear to support “third world” countries that lose just as much (if not more) innocent lives by the same terrorist groups is not trendy but it was definitely trendy to support Paris as we saw with the Facebook “Stand with Paris” french flag filters. Beirut was attacked just hours before the Paris attacks and yet got almost no media coverage. Paris was covered for days, if not weeks, after their singular attack.
I would just like to say I don’t think the victims of the Paris or Belgium attacks don’t deserve to be mourned because they were and are both tragedies. However, I think it should be noted how eurocentric we can be when it comes to tragedy. Has anyone noticed this too?