Kurds in London protest against IS attacks on Kobane. See Li/Demotix. All rights reserved.On January 11, 2015, an estimated 1.6 million people walked the streets of Paris as part of a “unity march” in reaction to the recent attack in the French capital. Some 40 world leaders joined the march. Other high-profile individuals also recognized the attack and the march—for instance, George Clooney and other actors referred to the events as they received awards on January 11. “Paris is the capital of the world today,” declared Francois Hollande.
Those who are informed of current events know that every day people are killed by the violence that was unleashed by the opportunistic manipulators of the Arab Spring and the invasion of Iraq before that. It is perplexing to see world leaders converging on Paris, the media saturated with news about the attack, and the large unity march in response to the attack. Why are we expected to respond to these events with unity when indiscriminate violence, illegal wars, and genocidal massacres have taken the lives of people in Muslim countries every day for the past four years?
Where is the outrage when—just one day before the march in Paris—al-Nusra genocidal bombers, financed and armed by Qatar and Turkey and their western allies, killed at least 7 people and wounded more than 30 in a cafe in Tripoli, Lebanon?
Where is the anger when a suicide bomb blast killed at least 20 people and injured 18 others at a poultry market in Maiduguri, Somalia, on January 10?
Where is the indignation when bombers killed and wounded 29 civilians in a market in Yobe, Nigeria, on the same day the Paris march took place?
Where is the wrath when attackers killed 31 and maimed 90 in a market in China's Xinjiang last May?
Where is the exasperation when ISIL genocidal murders killed 40 in a series of attacks targeting mosques in Iraq last October?
Where is the ire when genocidal fighters killed 134 children and 9 school staff members, and injured 121 others, at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, last December?
Where is the fury when genocidal murderers have carried out more than 400 suicide attacks, killing 6,272 and wounding 12,909 in Pakistan alone since 2001?
Where is the disgust when, on average, six civilians died in Iraq every day, for a total of 21,600 deaths, between 2003 and January 2013, by car bombs and suicide attacks alone?
Where is the call for unity when 12,878 civilians were murdered by terror attacks in 2013 in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Syria? Do the lives of 12 French citizens matter more than the lives of 12,878 Muslims killed over the course of just one year?
The simple fact is this: far too many Muslims have been killed by the political tools created by Saudi Arabia and its allies. Too many victims to capture with a slick slogan like “Je Suis Charlie”, too many to keep track of all their names. I could go on listing attack after attack by these genocidal murderers, who were nurtured and sponsored by allies of the west, targeting Muslims in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Nigeria. I could list facts and figures about children, women, elders, journalists, doctors, teachers, engineers, labourers, mothers, father, sister, brothers, aunts, uncles, and uninvolved civilians, who provoked no one, killed every day in these countries. But I can’t find a single instance of world leaders marching in the streets of Peshawar, Kabul, Baghdad, Damascus, Tunis, Beirut, or Abuja to mourn these innocent lives and to show unity against genocidal groups and ideologies.
The unity march in Paris enables killers to claim that Muslims’ lives do not matter as much as the lives of western citizens. The media’s over-coverage of victims of terrorism in the west and under-coverage of victims of terrorism elsewhere communicates a latent racism: European lives matter, the lives of people of color do not. Mass murder in Paris demands an international show of outrage and unity, whereas mass murder in Islamabad deserves only a dismissive statement of condemnation.
Ironically, the disparate reaction to the same act of violence—one taking the lives of western citizens and one taking the lives of non-western citizens, which is unconscionable, further radicalizes some ordinary Muslims and some of them join genocidal groups like ISIL who deceptively claim that they are the true defenders of Sunni Muslims.
That is how genocidal fighters are able to find sanctuary among some ordinary Sunni Muslims, and can then use that sanctuary to launch deadly attacks that kill anyone who does not embrace their genocidal supremacist ideology and practices.
The unity march was a shameful display by opportunists to capitalize on the blood of innocent people. Instead of that hypocritical exercise, world leaders should have reached out to the primary victims of terrorism and shown true unity by displaying equal outrage for offenses committed against them. They should have shown some sincere sympathy towards the victims of genocidal killing in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. If western leaders wanted to fight extremism and supremacism, they would not distinguish between a life lost to terrorism in Paris and a life lost to terrorism in Baghdad and Damascus, even when they disagree with the political leaders in those capitals.