What is happening in Belgium is disheartening and should be condemned in the strongest terms possible. That said, I could not help but be dismayed by the attention our local media is giving Brussels bombing when they blatantly ignore over 200 reported terrorism related deaths this year in Africa.
To say eNCA, ANN7 or SABC is not covering terrorism attacks in Africa would be disingenuous.I am not espousing such rhetoric. Let's just get that out of the way. When it happens, we cover it — Just not as prominently as we do feeds coming from the US or Europe.
Our news channels seem to value content involving mass murders happening in good old western countries when black people are being massacred right in our backyard and their stories do not seem to matter.
Between January and March we have had over 200 deaths... actually let me put this in perspective for you with the figures;
- 15 - 16th January 2016 - Burkina Faso - 30 killed
- 22th January 2016 - Mogadishu - 20 killed
- 25th January 2016 - Bodo Cameroon 28 killed
- 29th January 2016 - Gombi Nigeria - 11 Killed
- 31th January 2016 - Dalori Nigeria - 86 killed
- 09th February 2016 - Dikwa Nigeria - 60 killed
- 13th February 2016 - Yakshari Nigeria - 22 killed
- 19th February 2016 - Meme Cameroon - 24 killed
- 26th February 2016 - Mogadishu, Somalia - 14 killed
- 28th February 2016 - Baidoa Somalia - 32 killed
These are just the high numbers above 10. Once you add up the small numbers the death toll easily surpass the 200. All these deaths were a result of terrorism as reported by mainstream media. One can argue that the Brussels bombing is more shocking because it happened in one country and took to many lives in one incident.
Of course that argument will not hold because Nigeria in just 3 months has had 157 deaths, 97 in just just 9 days apart. Why have I not seen a correspondent Skype in on eNCA to report on these atrocities in Nigeria yet somehow they managed to have a correspondent in London to talk about Belgium?
Where are the Nigerian flags being beamed on monuments when reports come in that another Boko Haram attack has taken innocent lives? Where is Facebook and its flag profile picture?
Yes Kenyan Westgate Mall siege in 2013 received wide coverage worldwide but by comparison a lot of terrorism attacks in Africa just do not get the same prominence or coverage priority. That is just an obvious fact.
I am not gonna push hard on US and EU media for their coverage bias because they are looking out for their own. They are using their resources to share their stories. Why are we in Africa not doing the same? Why are we instead taking our limited resources to jump on the bandwagon that already has the means to sustain itself?
It is unfathomable to me that 2 days on, my preferred local 24 hour news channel is still running the Brussels story as a part of the primetime headlines when I have yet to see a report on Dikwa unless I wait til very late and get to see the Africa Report.
I hope to be a father soon and it bothers me that my son or daughter, 20 years into our democracy, would still be coming into a world that says because of his/her geography and skin colour his/her life would not be as important as someone living on the other side of the oceans.
I am not heartless or unsympathetic to what our fellow humanbeing are going through in Europe. I am not racist. It is however very hard, as a black person, to watch this blatant bias, even in sorrow, that still relegates people who look like me to the back banner. Worse still when that bias is perpetuated by the very same people who look like me.