It was during the wee hours of June 29 that Turkey’s Ataturk airport witnessed one of the most gruesome bombings and massacres in recent times. Around 41 innocent people were killed and another 239 injured when suicide bombers detonated their bombs. The news has been covered by major newspapers across the world. But how many posts have we seen on social media platforms like Facebook which have condemned the attacks? How many days will go by when the news will even be lost behind the other headlines emerging? Will it get the same coverage and response that recent attack of Orlando for example received?
Of course any kind of terrorist attack in any part of the world deserves condemnation and solidarity, whether it happens in Brussels or Orlando or any other country, but will the British Prime Minister David Cameroon hoist the national flag of Turkey at Ten Downing Street like he raised the Belgian flag after the Brussels attack this year? Will the attack be regarded with the same solidarity and intensity that Orlando attack received? Or will the condemnation stop at mere lip service of politicians across the globe, just like Cameroon’s description of it as “hideous”?
The latest trend of not giving the Istanbul terrorist attack its due space points to the disturbing belief among media users that such attacks in the Middle East are a “normal” part of life there. After all, the Syrian refugee crisis received the global attention it deserved only after the extreme incident of a boy being washed ashore whose picture emerged on social media. Similarly, the Turkish attack may be sidelined, apart from the tepid response, it has received till now. It will be like any other bombing which has taken place in Beirut, or Baghdad because nobody really cares what happens to the innocent lives lost there. The same fate will be meted out to this attack, too.
The reason behind the apathy is deeper than that. We have been conditioned to believe that the entire Muslim community is suspect because of the heinous acts of some terrorists who are Muslims – ISIS, Al-Qaeda and so on. So how does it matter if their population dwindles? If innocent lives are lost, then they are to be considered as mere collateral damage. This kind of dangerous apathy will only add to the strength of those terrorists who have only misinterpreted Islam and miscuing its tenets to perpetuate untold violence.
But of course, violence is a way of life in the Islamic countries, so there is no need to take any concrete steps to contain it. We can remain cozy in our own worlds, going about our daily lives, discussing the latest fashion trends or posting the pictures of our latest holiday on social media without caring about the death of humanity with each person who became fodder to the bombings in Istanbul.