French President François Hollande called Sunday’s match in Paris a clear demonstration of our “opposition to terrorism”. It was no such thing. It was in fact a demonstration of our opposition to terrorism as it affects Western interests.
It is for that reason that the march took place in Paris and not Abuja; that the Western media’s focus was on terrorism in France which left 17 dead not on terrorism in Nigeria which left a hundred times as many dead; and that we are now all talking about #JeSuisCharlie rather than #BringBackOurGirls – remember that?
#BringBackOurGirls is now nine months old. It was a staggering successful social media campaign concerning the kidnap of 230 girls from a school in Nigeria. However, the girls were never actually brought back. In Nigeria this week alone, perhaps 2000 people were massacred. We don’t care.
But is that not the crux of the issue? Of course the West is more liberal, more civilised and more socially advanced than the societies from which the Islamic terrorist threat ultimately originates. It is no less hypocritical, however. Terrorism in France may affect our social and economic interests, so we report it widely and demand a response – ironically, the type of response which restricts the very freedoms #JeSuisCharlie wants protected! Terrorism in Nigeria, well, here’s a lovely picture but, you know, beyond hitting ‘RT’ you can’t seriously expect us to do anything?
As it happens, 57,000 is a reasonable estimate of the number killed during the Boko Harem insurgency in northern Nigeria – Africa’s largest country by far – over the past twelve months.
We don’t care. Ultimately, when it’s not in our interests, we’re a bunch of illiberal hypocrites. It would help if we at least stopped the pretence.