It astonishes me, the willingness to snuff out a life.
On the one hand, I am only one, just as you are only one – in a vast universe. I am very, very small.
Our lives are very, very small.
But they hold so much. So many stories, so many memories. All the encounters and experiences, the influences and the relationships. Take one life, you damage and destroy others.
We watch films where people die as part of the scenery – collateral damage, they’re in the hero’s way, etc. They happen to be guarding something or someone – they’re shot down. Sometimes the death of minor characters is made ‘funny’ in the way the main character interacts with them. I find myself watching and thinking – wait, wait! It’s a whole life!
It’s only a movie.
But. The willingness to kill, whether in deliberate hate or simply to get someone ‘out of the way’ is all too real in our world.
Many eyes have been on Paris these past few days and I’m not denying the horror, nor the importance of it. But I did feel a disparity of emphasis – the news of the hundreds and hundreds who have been killed in Nigeria seemed oddly muted.
I could barely find anything on my Twitterfeed. I couldn’t find any mention by the BBC for ages – something others noticed and protested about. Surely they deserve at least as much airtime? I did not retweet any of the Paris updates – not because I didn’t care, but because those I follow on Twitter were already doing so. Instead I tried to tweet about Nigeria. I couldn’t bear to see their tragedy fade from view.
Is there a Western emphasis that needs urgently addressing here? Or is it simply that Paris is closer to home? Just over the channel. Less anticipated, less ‘normal’ for such things to happen. We are horrified not just because of the awful deeds but because we did not expect them. Is it because it was related to media personnel that the media gave it a higher profile?
Nigeria’s suffering is immense, and the death toll far higher. Let us take time to mourn for all lives taken in these past few days. Wherever they are. Those abused, those broken, those utterly destroyed by pain and grief. How dare we forget them.
So many lives. So many stories, loves, hurts. So much potential! And every single one of value.
EVERY SINGLE ONE.
Image: The words under Je suis Charlie say ‘let’s not forget the victims of Boko Haram’.