by Anna Gombert
Over 300 people were killed in a terrorist attack in Mogadishu, Somalia on Saturday, October 14. According to Newsweek, the Somali government is blaming the attacks on al-Shabab, an extremist group that has previously attacked the capital, though the group has yet to claim the attacks. Many Somali citizens are referring to the attacks as their 9/11. The attacks have not drawn much mainstream or social media attention.
The attack consisted of a bomb that was carried through the city in a truck and was detonated in a busy intersection, according to the Washington Post. The blast from the bomb caused a nearby gas truck to explode, turning into a massive fireball that leveled several surrounding buildings. In addition to the mass casualties, over 400 people were injured and many are still missing.
On Wednesday, October 18, there were protests on the streets of the capital. According to the Guardian, thousands of young men and women took to the streets after Thabit Abdi, the mayor of Mogadishu, issued a call to unity stating, “We must liberate this city, which is awash with graves.”
There has been some backlash by people on social media about the lack of coverage from mainstream or social media platforms. “We get it–white and Western, European and American victims ‘merit’ the media attention and the public alarm it spurs, and Black and foreign, African and Muslims do not,” stated Khaled Beydoun, a professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, on Facebook according to Newsweek.
“It is clear that we are witnessing -and we see this all the time- differential media attention paid to tragedies occurring around the world. There is a terrorist attack somewhere in the Western world and we see round-the-clock coverage. We are outraged and we mourn, as we should,” stated Professor Golden, head of the Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict. “But if it happens in other parts of the world, in Africa, in the Middle East, do we think ‘that sort of thing just happens there’?”
There will be an event called “Why is there no #PrayForSomalia?” facilitated by the Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict and co-sponsored by DASA on Wednesday, October 25, at 4 p.m. in EC 145. The event will allow students to discuss the attacks and why they received so little media coverage.
“We will engage in dialogue around Western media, the normalisation of death in certain parts of the world, and the double standards around who deserves the world’s attention,” explained Bongwie Bongwe (‘20) who helped plan the event. “We have to ask; where are the vigils? where are the hashtags? where is the #PrayForSomalia?”