–WARNING: this post contains unpopular opinions and may well see some people lose their respect for me–
So unless you’ve been living under a Peter (see what I did there?) this weekend, you’ll know about the tragic events that went on in Paris. They ought not to need an introduction, as you can find it easily on the news right now. What I want to talk about isn’t related to the events themselves so much as to the way people seem to be reacting to them.
I can totally understand if people are writing comments like “This is disgusting” or “F***, this is a sad day for France”, because I do agree. It’s just a bit disconcerting seeing it everywhere. I guess for me, the fact that it’s being reported so much says a lot, and that’s where my problem lies.
As somebody who intends to study journalism in the not-too-distant future, I’m aware that news agencies are constantly looking for the next big issue to report on. They know what people are interested in reading about, but they also have to be careful not to over-exaggerate the extent of certain things just for the sake of keeping their audience’s attention. This incident might seem dramatic at the moment – and I can understand why – but I’m not totally sure how long it will keep its shock factor. In even one or two years’ time, will we remember what happened that night? Will we look back at the things we said and think “Was that really rational?”?
Now, I’m not saying that this incident is being over-reported necessarily. I do think, however, that we might need to re-evaluate the way we’re responding to what we’ve seen. At the moment, it might seem like such a big deal, but compared to other incidents from the past I’d say it might not be as bad as we’re making it out to be. Earlier this year in Kenya, an attack took place that left 148 dead, 19 more than died in Paris this weekend. In Nigeria before that, an attack from terror group Boko Haram saw at least 2000 killed. And yet, the media coverage for those events compared to this weekend’s events and others like them was next to nothing. (Check out this link if you want more info on either of those incidents.) In 2011, after a summer camp in Norway got shot up by a lone psychopath, I don’t remember the world losing its collective crap the same way it did this weekend.
Please don’t get the impression that I agree with what these maniacs were doing, or that I think it’s in some way unimportant. I honestly get chills thinking about what happened, and it’s even worse seeing people freaking out about it the way they are. But really, before we go hyping this up as the “next 9/11” or something to that effect, we should stop and look at the bigger picture, not just the here and now.
May the peace that Christ gives be with us all, now and always.