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Slaughter in Somalia, Silence in the West

Posted by on Oct. 19, 2017 at 2:35 PM
  • 19 Replies

Slaughter in Somalia, Silence in the West

By Arnold Ahlert

2017-10-19-c46b1d5f_large.jpg

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Last Saturday, the world endured one of the most horrific terror attacks in recent memory. A truck packed with several hundred pounds of military-grade and homemade explosives was detonatedon a busy street close to several important government ministries, a hotel and a market in Mogadishu, Somalia. More than 300 people were killed and several hundred more were injured in the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of both the nation and the entire Horn of Africa. Rescue workers believe a definitive death toll may never be established because heat generated by the blast was so intense, the bodies of many people will never be found. By any reasonable standard, this story should have been a bold print, first-out-of-the-box headline piece run by every major media entity around the world.

But it wasn't.

Only the Al Jazeera news organization noticed — which is somewhat ironic. "Double-Standards: 'Why Aren't We All With Somalia?'" asked a headline at its website.

Why indeed? Several of Al Jazeera's readers weighed in. Some took the media to task. "The world is unfair; social media can attest to that. 276 died in Somalia and we aren't doing the same thing we did when it was Las Vegas," tweeted Eke van Victor. "You should be as devastated about the sheer loss of life in Somalia, as you were about the senseless killings in Vegas," wrote Stacey Dooley, a British television worker. "The # of people killed in Somalia yesterday was 10x more than the # killed in Manchester in May (230 to 22). But it got 100x less coverage," tweeted law professor Khaled Beydoun.

Others brought up race. "Y'all only care with your little hashtags when it's rich white people," tweeted Lucas R. "Perfect example of how global solidarity only comes into play when white people die," tweeted @lex_looper. "500+ casualties. The West cares about terrorism when a POC [person of color] attacks white people, but is silent when the victims are POC," stated @InvictaVis. "Judging all brands who peaced when white people died but not today when brown people are in Somalia," added @SimplyBerry.

Itayi Viriri, spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, wondered why the same celebrities who often stand in solidarity with terror victims remained silent. And Twitter user Eugene Cho, in asking for forgiveness, noted that "our tears are often limited to the West."

There are elements of truth in all of the above assertions, but to a large degree they miss the bigger picture: Western nations in general, and America in particular, are becoming more and more obsessed with trivialities and self-indulgence. While Mogadishu reels, American universities are issuing guidelines on which Halloween costumes constitute "cultural appropriation." We remain transfixed by the depredations of a Hollywood pig and his army of self-aggrandizing enablers. We are roiled by millionaire NFLers who take knees to cling to a false narrative of an inherently racist America, replete with legions of police officers who ostensibly do little more than terrorize people of color — even as those same NFLers have said nothing about people of color slaughtered by terrorists in Mogadishu.

Some of it is simple human nature. Out of sight, out of mind. But much of it is engendered by a historically unprecedented level of largesse that we far too often take for granted. Simply put, most of us can afford to argue about the little things because the big things — food, clothing, shelter, freedom, law, order and national security, etc. — are bounties we have been able to take for granted for generations.

Somalis? According to 2015 data published by the United Nations Development Program, the average life expectancy is 50 for men and 53 for women. More than half of the population has no access to clean water. Approximately 60% of Somalian children are not enrolled in school, and one in seven die before their fifth birthday due to disease, hunger and lack of proper health care in a nation afflicted with chronic famine.

One in three American children are overweight or obese.

And if we can be brutally honest — a big if — it might behoove us to recognize that nothing is more effective at breeding disunity than our indulgence of petty disagreements.

Moreover, nothing fuels that pettiness more than Americans' willingness to abandon the concept known as live and let live. If one person in 10,000 disdains a Christmas crèche displayed in the town center, it must be dismantled. Those who believe in same-sex marriage prefer forcing a Christian baker to bake them a cake rather than go to another bakery that would welcome their business. On college campuses around the nation, students prefer shutting down ideas with which they disagree, to the point where a Princeton University student actually asserted that free speech rights don't apply to conservatives. "For conservatives, I honestly believe they are better off evaluating and reshaping their arguments rather than resorting to the argument of 'free speech,'" declares Ryan Born. "They are better off without it."

What Americans would be better off without is orchestrated divisiveness, courtesy of those who profit from keeping us at each other's throats. For far too long, we have endured the cultivated grievances that reducing the nation to a series of tribalistic subgroups inevitably produces. We have now reached the point where half of America simply assumes the other half is beneath contempt, even to the point where the same kind of national tragedy that united us after 9/11 no longer seems possible.

Yet there is hope. More Americans than ever recognize the status quo is both intolerable and unworkable. And while it may be messy and take more time than most people prefer, the bet here is a national catharsis is proceeding apace. Here's hoping that's the real reason for our relative inattention to the suffering in Mogadishu.

Anything else is inexcusable.

by on Oct. 19, 2017 at 2:35 PM
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Replies (1-10):
GrayDuck41
by Linda on Oct. 19, 2017 at 2:43 PM
1 mom liked this
We are definitely aware of this in Minnesota because we have a huge number of Somalis living in the twin cities .
I worked with several kind and intelligent Somalis in a large bank's accounting department . I think I can say we are all horrified by what is happening there.
OrangeBalloon
by Silver Member on Oct. 19, 2017 at 2:45 PM
1 mom liked this

I actually did hear about this on NPR. It's very tragic. 

GrayDuck41
by Linda on Oct. 19, 2017 at 2:47 PM
In the middle of this article is a link to the American Heart Association, an informative and valuable article;and it's valuable, information not " fat shaming ".
Here:
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyKids/ChildhoodObesity/Overweight-in-Children_UCM_304054_Article.jsp
handy0318
by Silver Member on Oct. 19, 2017 at 2:49 PM
2 moms liked this

The bombing in Somalia was and is being actively reported on by ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The L.A. Times, Huffington Post, Time, Slate..the list goes on and the stories of exactly what happened there are still forthcoming.

I do agree about the "orchestrated divisiveness" but making false claims that the Somalia Bombing wasn't and isn't being substantially covered just contributes to the very divisiveness the author is railing against.


WilyMommy
by Missbod on Oct. 19, 2017 at 2:49 PM
I’m in MN and I didn’t hear about it.

Quoting GrayDuck41: We are definitely aware of this in Minnesota because we have a huge number of Somalis living in the twin cities .
I worked with several kind and intelligent Somalis in a large bank's accounting department . I think I can say we are all horrified by what is happening there.
WilyMommy
by Missbod on Oct. 19, 2017 at 2:50 PM
1 mom liked this
Everyone’s too busy worrying about Trump. It’s sad how sick the media has become. Trump may dominate the news cycle, but he’s not the one writing the stories and deciding what is and is not newsworthy. It’s disgusting.
GrayDuck41
by Linda on Oct. 19, 2017 at 2:51 PM
Yep

Quoting handy0318:

The bombing in Somalia was and is being actively reported on by ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The L.A. Times, Huffington Post, Time, Slate..the list goes on and the stories of exactly what happened there are still forthcoming.

I do agree about the "orchestrated divisiveness" but making false claims that the Somalia Bombing wasn't and isn't being substantially covered just contributes to the very divisiveness the author is railing against.

GrayDuck41
by Linda on Oct. 19, 2017 at 2:52 PM
I read about in the Star Tribune and saw it on Facebook.

Quoting WilyMommy: I’m in MN and I didn’t hear about it.

Quoting GrayDuck41: We are definitely aware of this in Minnesota because we have a huge number of Somalis living in the twin cities .
I worked with several kind and intelligent Somalis in a large bank's accounting department . I think I can say we are all horrified by what is happening there.
billsfan1104
by on Oct. 19, 2017 at 2:52 PM
Why is this posted here?

Quoting GrayDuck41: In the middle of this article is a link to the American Heart Association, an informative and valuable article;and it's valuable, information not " fat shaming ".
Here:
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyKids/ChildhoodObesity/Overweight-in-Children_UCM_304054_Article.jsp
Lady_Facetious
by Gold Member on Oct. 19, 2017 at 2:54 PM
1 mom liked this
WaPo, BBC, NPR, USA Today, LA Times, NBC, NYT, and others covered it several days ago.


Trump felt that golfing was more important.
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