Uproar pervades the French cybersphere over the media’s indifference toward the Garissa University College massacre in Kenya. France learned the news from the English online press, and hold their media accountable for underreporting the story. Meanwhile, in the US, reports on Garissa came in the wake of terrorist raids, developed with regular updates about personal stories and responses from Kenyan authorities; and then faded away when the verdict of the Boston marathon bomber–also related to extremist Islam–broke.
In France, solidarity with Kenya stems from sharing the same intolerable violence and shock from terrorists jihadists. Then it splits on the global mediatic scene. In January, after the Paris’ twin attacks, France received an exceptional demonstration of global support : the hashtag #jesuischarlie, worldwide demonstrations, and the political leaders walking in the streets of Paris; none of this happened for Kenya.
Now France feels awkward, its heart swelling beyond borders. Since the world has been Charlie, the French became Danish for the terrorist attack that killed one at a free speech Conference in Copenhagen, Tunisian after gunmen killed 19 visitors in the Bardo Museum, and now Kenyan.
It’s as if Charlie and the Kosher market terror generated a slow-to-heal fracture, a before and after. Before, on December 16th 2014, seven Talibans clad in Pakistani army uniforms burst into a military-run Peshawar public school, killing 145 students. The scenario is almost identical to Garissa; it was reported as insurgents taking revenge against military action. The attack was so unpredictable that the military was caught off guard on its own territory, resulting in almost the same death toll. Yet, no one in the Western world changed their Facebook profile picture in solidarity for the young Pakistani martyrs. Furthermore, rare are those who remember the slaughter and endless pain it brought to the many families who lost their children forever.
Anyway, with Kenya the frustration is mounting. Complaints about the lack of coverage grow bigger than the story itself. Some recommended using memes to show concern, and support by pushing the hashtag #jesuiskenyan. Very few have changed their profile pictures. No heads of state are marching in the streets and Kenyans feel as though their lives are somehow worthless.