While the world expressed its solidarity with France after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, in which 129 people were killed and more than 350 injured, another tragedy that happened just one day before went mostly unnoticed in the West and was overshadowed by the vast media coverage of the Paris attacks.
More than 40 people were killed and another 239 were wounded Nov. 12 in two suicide bombings in the suburb of Bourj el-Barajneh in Beirut, Lebanon.
The Nov. 13 Baghdad, Iraq, attacks were also forgotten. Twenty-six people were killed in a suicide bombing and roadside explosion.
After the events in Paris, national monuments around the world were illuminated with the colors of the French flag, and Facebook activated its “Safety Check” feature, which allowed users to reassure friends and family that they were safe. Facebook also added a filter that applied a French flag-colored overlay to users’ profile pictures. “#PrayForParis” trended on Twitter, with TwitterReverb reporting more than 6.7 million tweets in 10 hours.
However, there were no monuments lit with the colors of the Lebanese flag, no “Safety Check” for Lebanon, no profile picture filter, and the keyword “Beirut” only reached a peak of about 143,000 mentions a day on Twitter.
It was only when “#PrayForTheWorld” trended that the Beirut attacks gained media recognition and even then, Beirut did not garner the same amount of global support that Paris did. According to the BBC, there were more than 800,000 tweets about Beirut, but a majority of them were made after the Paris attacks.
Many Americans can pinpoint Paris on a map, which makes it easier to feel solidarity with Paris, but this is in no way an excuse to ignore the Beirut attacks or the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.
While people around the world are praying for Paris, they must not forget those who have been killed in places where we think such violence is typical.