One week, two tragedies

March 24th, 2015. Germanwings flight 4U9525 crashes in the French Alps, causing 149 deaths. Pilot Andreas Lubitz is found to have locked himself in the cabin and crashed the plane deliberately.

April 2nd, 2015. 148 Kenyans are murdered by a commando of Chababs, a Somali Islamist movement in Garissa, a province in the North East of the country. 148 dead, of which 142 students.

The attack was perpetrated at the University of Garissa. Students were brutally woken up by the jihadists before dawn; those who could recite the Quran were spared, whilst Christians were wished a Happy Easter before being shot down.

To be covered, or not to be covered….

Whilst the Germanwings crashed made front pages for full weeks, to the point it started raising criticism in regard to the privacy of the pilot's family and the breach of the presumption of innocence, the Kenyan massacre is much less covered by international media.

It seems two horrifying stories with a similar death toll do not deserve the same attention.

It has been noticed that tragedies mainly interest the national public when they hit close to home - which is perfectly the case for the Germanwings crash: it took place in France and involved a flight travelling from Barcelona to Düsseldorf. In Kenya's case, it all might be too far to cause that much emotion.

Nevertheless, the Kenyan massacre was perpetrated by jihadists, which can only remind European-centered citizens of the Charlie Hebdo massacre that took place in Paris early January, in Copenhagen in February, and in Tunis in March. The threat of Islamist movements is a real concern in contemporary politics. But here again, these tragedies fail to mobilize readers and audiences if they do not involve victims of their national countries.

Had the victims in Kenya been French, British or American, it may have been an entirely different story.

Remember, mourn, inform

There are no tragedies that deserve more attention than others. The Kenyan children deserved to be mourned just the same as the Spanish, French and German victims. Let us not see through an exclusively Western prism. Let us continue talking and writing about the events that do not hit close to home and do not involve our own nationals - after all, they target nationals who have a home too.

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