Politics of Grieving – Do Nigerian Muslim Lives Matter?

This image taken from TV, shows the interior of a mosque the attack by a suicide bomber in Mubi, Adamawa State. Photograph: AP

A suicide attack at a mosque in Mubi, northeastern Nigeria, has killed at least 50 people, Al Jazeera has said. The explosion occurred during morning prayers.

No group has yet claimed responsibility, but Boko Haram carries out regular attacks in the region. Some 20,000 people have been killed in Boko Haram’s eight-year insurgency.

The BBC reports that Boko Haram militants have recently stepped up suicide bombings in Nigeria’s north-east after the military recaptured territories previously controlled by the group.

I often take issue with the disparity in the media response to “terrorist attacks” which occur across the globe. When attacks happen in cities like Paris, as Halim Shebaya points out, “the world rightfully stands as one with the French people, as they deal with the tragic results of violent extremism.”

But why not Mubi?

The attacks in Nigeria covered above are buried amidst stories about Lavar Ball and Donald Trump’s beef. Where is the media coverage?

Nobody is changing their Facebook profile pictures to the Nigerian flag. To date, no Western leader has condemned the attack which stole so many innocent lives. Why?

We selectively mourn the loss of civilians in Manhattan but it seems that we blatantly ignore equally horrendous killing in other parts of the world. There is a clear lack of outrage.

What explains the silence?

Perhaps it is the international community’s hypocrisy.

Judith Butler puts it well when she says: “The question that preoccupies me in the light of recent global violent is, who counts as human? Whose lives count as lives? And, finally, what makes for a grievable grief?”

Is it because the victims in Mubi are Black? Is it because they are African? Is it because they are Muslim? Is it because we have been programmed to think that Black, African and Muslims lives do not matter as much as others?

One thought on “Politics of Grieving – Do Nigerian Muslim Lives Matter?

  1. All lives matter, no matter the color of they skin, sex, or what they believe in, i don’t understand the killing of innocent people, I’m so sorry the world has bad people, that willingly take the lives of their own children and say its for God. No excuses, its awful, in any country, I’m so sorry for the losses.


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