I am Charlie, But I am Baga, Too

The world is grieving with Paris. I am equally disturbed by the slaughter that shocked Europe and the rest of the world last week. But my heart also aches for other, more distant tragedies—many of which have gone underreported and unnoticed.

Nearly four million people and 40 world leaders recently marched in Paris to mourn the deaths of the journalists and cartoonists who lost their lives in last week’s horrific terrorist attack. Meanwhile over 30,000 Nigerians fled their respective villages in Nigeria, trampling over the carnage and corpses of their own 2,000 loved ones, according to reports.

While young boys and girls around the globe posted ‘Je Suis Charlie’ to their social media profiles, a 10-year-old girl in Nigeria had explosives strapped to her small body, forced to detonate herself in a crowded village.

I have a dreaded sense that we, as news consumers, have become apathetic and desensitized to the vastness of devastation that occurs outside our realm of comprehension. The Islamist extremist group, Boko Haram, is ravaging Nigeria—unbeknownst to a majority of the West. We see that 2,000 Nigerians were slaughtered, and the news seems commonplace. We remain complacent, our spirits unblanched by the travesty. I am heartbroken imagining that young girl walking into her own village, garbed with explosives, just as I am heartbroken for the families that will not be able to welcome home their witty and cherished journalists for dinner.

Sadly there lies an undeniable discrepancy between the reactions to the two events. The difference with which the world has valued the lives of those lost in Paris versus the multitudes of Nigerians is glaring and devastating.

The French, however, have hope to eradicate terrorism in their country with a host of leaders and their nations behind them, while the Nigerians hide forgotten and ignored behind the Western world’s tears.

-Emily Hedberg, Sports & Opinion Editor