As reports of police raids in Belgium dominate headlines, social media yet again reacted promptly to Tuesday’s brazen attacks in Brussels.
The Belgian capital, hosting Nato and European Union, was hit by Islamic State suicide bombers at the Brussels airport and a metro station on Tuesday. More than 30 people were killed and over 300 were injured in the triple blasts.
The attacks, perhaps, resonated the most with France, where IS killed 130 in multiple attacks across Paris on November 13 last year.
French newspaper Le Monde’s cartoonist Plantu quickly put out a personified French flag comforting its Belgian counterpart, draping its fold on the other -- a powerful symbol of solidarity indeed. The infamous Trevi Fontana in Rome, World Trade Centre in the United States and the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris lit up in Belgian national colours to stand with Brussels. World leaders too descended on their podiums to denounce the attacks, including US President Barack Obama who reiterated that the US-led coalition will continue “pounding IS and we’re going to go after them”.
Instead of Paris, the hashtag #PrayForBelgium trended on Twitter this time around. Netizens changed their profile pictures as tributes poured in from across the world. Tintin, the popular detective created by Belgian cartoonist Herge, also cried in sketches shared by thousands.
Meanwhile, not too far away, some -- not half as many as Brussels -- questioned the same outpour of support and asked why is it that Turkey or Ivory Coast were forgotten in the sea of tributes for Brussels. The two countries too were engulfed by violence the same week.
Turkey, still hoping for a full EU membership, was attacked by an IS-affiliate three days before Brussels. Four, including the bomber, died in the Istanbul attack on March 19.
A Twitter user @Turkey_Pics shared an edited version of Plantu’s cartoon but this time with an important addition -- Turkey’s flag next to the Belgian and French colours as a potent reminder of extremism’s Non-European victims.
Turks, who suffered from equally heinous attacks at the hands of terrorists, share the pain of the Belgians. pic.twitter.com/5v5pdfhp4L— Turkey_Pics (@Turkey_Pics) March 22, 2016
Africa was not insulated either. Ivory Coast witnessed a brutal attack on March 14 by six al Qaeda militants who killed fourteen civilians and two soldiers with Kalashnikov rifles and hand grenades at a beach in Grand Bassam.
There were women and children running and hiding,” a witness, Marie Bassole recounts. “It started on the beach. Whoever they saw, they shot at.”
Luckily, there are still few who think victims of non-European countries deserve the lamentation accorded to Paris or Brussels. Here are those who were critical and others, morose:
Why no global solidarity over Turkey (or Nigeria) bombings as there is for Brussels? Here's a handy map. pic.twitter.com/Oc2Ms6YMOy— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) March 24, 2016
the media coverage of the explosions in Brussels airport is everywhere, but when there were terrorist attacks in Turkey where was the media— Bom Emoji Updates (@homotears) March 22, 2016
Thoughts and prayers out to Brussels, Turkey , Yemen, Ivory Coast and Nigeria who have all recently gone through devastating attacks.— SKRILLEX (@Skrillex) March 22, 2016
(With inputs from agencies)