The outpouring of condemnation towards Friday evening’s assault on Paris bears testament to the fact that the world places more focus on the loss of “white European lives” above those in third world countries. So says Afro-Middle East Centre director Na’eem Jeenah, as the world reels after a callous and bloody attack on the French capital, which has claimed the lives of 130 people.
Gunmen and suicide bombers embarked on a series of attacks on six locations including cafés and restaurants, and the Stade de France football stadium where the country’s national team were playing. President Francois Hollande was amongst those in attendance at the game.
The worst incident occurred at the Bataclan concert hall, where gunmen stormed a live performance and killed around 80 people. The Islamic State group have claimed responsibility for the attacks, while some of the perpetrators are alleged to have been active in Syria.
The attacks were preceded by a double suicide bombing in Beirut, Lebanon on Thursday, which has received a fraction of the same media coverage. Social media commentators and journalists have criticised the double standards of western media.
Jeenah said that while all incidents in which innocent civilians were being killed needed to be strongly condemned, it was difficult to have any kind of sympathy for the argument and narrative that France was a victim.
“France launched a war against ISIS, not the other way around. They have been bombing ISIS targets in Syria for close to a year already.
“President Francois Hollande said France regards this as an act of war, and of course it is an act of war. But it’s an act of war that is part of an actual war launched by France,” he explained, regarding the attacks as a retaliation on the part of the radical group.
While acknowledging that ISIS’s actions were based on a skewered interpretation of Islam, Jeenah stressed that this did not make all Muslims accountable for the tragic loss of life seen over the past weekend.
“I think increasingly Muslims are getting fed up with this whole condemning thing. Every time some character called Mohammad or Ebrahim does something murderous, the immediate reaction is that should stand up and condemn it.
“If some crazy nutter does something crazy why does that create an obligation on us to do anything about it, whether condemn or say anything at all? If some crazy person called John does something does that mean we expect every white person to condemn him. No we don’t, and we shouldn’t,” he stated.
One of the major repercussions of the attacks has been that blame has now been directed at the influx of Syrian refugees entering the country, spurring France and several other European countries to tighten its borders in terms of allowing refugees in.
Jeenah said the attack caught European countries in a bind, forcing them to increase their bombing of targets in ISIS-held territory, coincidently increasing the number of refugees, while simultaneously shutting their borders to those very refugees.
“The refugees are effectively going to increase in other countries in the region like Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan etc,” he added. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)