Days after the terrorist attack in Paris, Islamic State affiliate Boko Haram killed 32 people and left 80 dead in the city of Yola, Nigeria on Nov. 18. As the news of the attack in Paris overflowed media coverage and profile pictures on Facebook changed to the French flag, the citizens of Nigeria were left to pray for themselves.
According to the International Business Times, Boko Haram, now renamed Iswap, is on a mission to fight against Western influences in Nigeria and aims to impose its version of Sharia law in the country. Boko Haram directs its attacks at three out of 36 states in Nigeria — Adamawa, Yobe and Borno — and northern Cameroon, with coordinated bombings also occurring in other parts of Nigeria, as well as Chad and Niger.
In recent months, Chad and Niger were forced to declare a state of emergency in areas that were affected by Boko Haram, which has been deemed the world’s deadliest terror group, surpassing Islamic State. Maiduguri, where at least eight people were killed in a suicide bombing, is the epicenter of Boko Haram’s insurgency and is the group’s birthplace. The town is attacked almost on a weekly basis.
According to the IBT, “Boko Haram has killed between 17,000 and 20,000 people since its insurgency became violent in 2009.” Militants forcefully kidnap civilians — mostly women and children — to carry out the attacks.
The Nov. 18 attack in Yola was the second attack in Nigeria in less than a month. On Oct. 23, explosions at two mosques left more than 100 injured and 42 dead. Many have wondered why the copious amount of attention given to Paris was not given to Africa as well.
In April, a terrorist attack in Kenya killed 147 at Garissa University College and little to no coverage of the events made it to the U.S. media. The number of deaths that occurred in Paris compared to those in the Kenyan attack were incredibly close. Yet the number of Facebook profile pictures changed to the Kenyan flag were close to nonexistent.
It is ironic how the incidents in Africa fell to the bottom of the list of “newsworthy” coverage for a second time. Back in January 2015, according to Vibe, almost 4 million people went to the streets of France in protest after news that 12 people were gunned down at the headquarters of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and after a police officer was killed by a gunman who reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS. Days before the events in France, 2,000 people were killed by grenades and assault rifles in Nigeria at the hands of Boko Haram.
Nigeria was ranked third on the list of countries hit most frequently by terror attacks in the 2015 Global Terrorism Index,
while Iraq and Afghanistan were ranked first and second consecutively. Findings suggest that Nigeria experienced the largest increase of deaths from terrorism in 2014, with at least 7,512 people killed in terror attacks by Boko Haram and the Fulani militants; the latter are believed to have killed some 1,200 people in the past year.
It should be obvious why the U.S. feels such urgency to cover the events in Paris over the events in Africa. Africa has never been a high priority for Western nations other than stealing labor and goods. It will be a cold day in hell before the U.S. found any type of sympathy for the countries in Africa. We can pretend racism no longer exists and “all lives matter,” but historical and recent facts prove otherwise. If parts of white Africa were being terrorized, U.S. media coverage would be all over it.
The only sympathy coverage Africa ever receives from the States are those “feed a child in Africa for just $10 a month” commercials. Not to say everyone is not sympathetic, but the U.S. and France have had alliances for centuries. While those who are not blatant white supremacists are paying attention to France, they should be praying for Africa too. Other countries are in need of prayer and support, including those from the motherland.
Opinion Editor, Monica Houston
Monica is a transfer student from Norfolk State University studying English. Her dog, Furby, is an in-office celebrity and frequently attends production and meetings with Monica.
Graphic Designer, Sarah Butler
Sarah is a junior studying communication arts. In addition to being a graphic designer and contributing illustrator for the CT, Sarah also tutors math and is starting a business with her friends called No Stone Collective. Her ideal lifestyle would include lots of hiking, live music and road trips with a dog as a loyal sidekick. // Facebook | Portfolio