[Editorial] France, Lebanon, Egypt…We Grieve With You
by The Milton Measure on Friday, November 20th, 2015
On the night of Friday, November 13, several coordinated mass shootings, suicide bombings and hostage takings were carried out by terrorists across central Paris. The targets included a national stadium, restaurants and a concert hall theater. Shortly after, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks that killed over 120 people, left 350 injured, and left at least 99 in critical condition.
A day before in south Beirut, ISIS militants also claimed responsibility for a double suicide bombing which killed over 40 people, wounding over 200 more. Last month on October 31, a Russian commercial airliner with 224 on board crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. ISIS also claimed responsibility for that plane’s downing. However, unlike the Paris attacks, western media provided relatively low coverage on the Lebanese or Egyptian attacks, while it covered the incidents in Paris extensively.
As a board, we believe that both attacks were heinous and thus deserve equal attention from the media and from the Milton Academy community. Although some of us may feel France is culturally and geographically more close to home, we should also extend our sympathies to Lebanon, Egypt, and countless other countries devastated by terrorist incidents.
Social media platforms have also followed the media’s lead. Since the attack, Facebook has allowed users to overlay the French blue, white and red flag over their profile pictures in solidarity with France; however, the Lebanese or Egyptian flags are not an option. In addition, Facebook activated its Safety Check Feature right after the attacks in the French capital, but not for those in Lebanon’s capital. After receiving criticism, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has acknowledged that the company has changed its policy towards “human disasters going forward.”
France is the most visited country in the world and is the top tourist destination. In addition, compared to countries like Lebanon and Egypt, France has not experienced terrorism nearly as often. Therefore, it is not unexpected that the events in France would garner more attention from the press and, being comparable that to the attacks on 9/11, might strike a different chord for many in the United States.
We do not blame our own community for not being aware of the recent violence in countries other than France. Many of us are even very mindful of the destructive chain of events. Instead, we highlight the media as the main source affecting how many see world events. The images and statistics media provide often subconsciously affect the extent of our empathy. We only ask that the Milton community seeks out the truth for itself. Each of us should take a moment to honor all those of our global community who have been directly affected by the horror of terrorism, and recognize that life is far more than a statistic. We are responsible for at least these two things so that we may be there for each other through the grieving process.
The CXXI board stands with France, Lebanon, Egypt, and all other countries that have been affected by senseless terrorist attacks. All countries have suffered enough, and all deserve our support equally.
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