Why Aren't We Talking About the Kenyan Massacre More?
At around 5:30am on Thursday, April 7th, students of the Garissa University College should have been sleeping, or preparing for their early morning Christian prayers. Instead, Somali terror group Al-Shabaab crossed the Kenya-Somalia border and raided the school, killing 148 people and seriously injuring dozens more, most of whom were students. They headed to a dormitory first, indiscriminately gunning down anyone in their path. Once at the dorms, they separated the students based on religion, allowing the Muslim students to leave and murdering all that identified as Christian. Eventually, they made their way to a room where Christian students gathered for morning prayer and continued the massacre. The raid lasted for about 15 hours.
On Saturday a Kenyan woman, Ory Okolloh, started rallying for an international outcry on Twitter using #147notjustanumber, which started before a full count of the victims had been completed. The hashtag is bringing to light the huge disparity in coverage between the Kenyan massacre and other terror attacks this year, while also giving a face to the victims of the attack. Okolloh said in a tweet to The Wall Street Journal that the tag was “an effort to humanize victims of terror.” Family members and friends have been tweeting photos and stories of their loved ones.
The question is, why haven’t we seen more coverage of the worst terror attack that Kenya has seen since 1998? When students, ages 19 to 23, are so horribly disfigured that their own families cannot identify them, the international community cannot stay silent. The tag used during the Charlie Hebdo attack in January, #jesuischarlie, found a huge amount of international support, as did #blacklivesmatter after the Mike Brown and Eric Garner trials, and now the shooting in South Carolina. Are the lives of these Kenyan students, not a part of the lives that matter? While both of those hashtags are important, and promoted hugely important ideas, the disproportionate coverage and support of this event is tragic. The victims of Garissa University College are not just a number, and we will not forget them and the day their lives were needlessly taken.
Photo courtesy of Reuters