#PrayforSomalia : Shallow Media Coverage Regarding a Deadly Attack

Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, was hit by its deadliest single attack on Oct 14, 2017. Twin truck bombs went off in the city claiming the lives of more than 350 people and wounding many more.

The attack was linked to the Jihadist group, Al-Shabaab, which recently vowed to escalate their activities this year after President Trump and Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed announced new measures to target the group. Somalia has been one of the six Muslim-majority nations Trump has targeted with his travel ban. He also deemed Somalia as an “area of hostility” and has since deployed U.S forces and allowed more air strikes in the nation.

An atrocity of this magnitude has made this attack the largest terrorist attack to ever hit the country. Within the past year, Somalia has been experiencing extreme drought conditions and famine. The country has faced malnutrition alongside the issues of extremism, yet the media has done a poor job addressing the humanitarian crisis that is happening.

Where is the collective outrage? The #PrayforSomalia hashtag on social media failed to trend. Facebook did not promote a Somalian flag profile picture like it did for other attacks. There are no images of solidarity with Somali people circulating the media. As this has become one of the most deadliest attacks in years, we have failed to see it headline primetime news or resonate globally on social media.

The issue lies in the flaws of mainstream media. Western victims merit more global attention compared to African and Muslim victims. The lack of coverage by the media and President Trump’s public disregard to this tragedy promotes the assumption that it is a common occurrence in these areas. News surrounding Muslim-majority countries depict it to be a nation frequently struck by attacks. The implication of this narrative is that the mourning is different: there is total disregard that real, breathing people were affected.

Some people went to Twitter to voice their discontent of mainstream media’s coverage.

What has happened in Somalia is heartbreaking. It is even sadder how geography trumps fatalities in determining media coverage and how it resonates with the public. We should be with Mogadishu, just like we were with Las Vegas and Manchester.