Holding my breath: Paris, Yemen and Nigeria
I didn’t want to write a post about Charlie Hebdo, and the carnage that has ensued in Paris since Wednesday 7th January.
I didn’t want to write a post about the 37 people, mainly those waiting to enrol at a police academy, that were killed the same day in Yemen by a suicide bomber.
I didn’t want to write a post about a whole town called Baga, and surrounding areas, that were burned to the ground on the same day by Boko Haram in Nigeria.
I didn’t want to type that bodies were strewn all over the ground in Baga, with the loss of life estimated in the hundreds and thousands of refugees from the town crossing the border into the neighbouring country of Chad.
I didn’t want to read that according to some news outlets last year Boko Haram killed around 10,000 people in Nigeria.
I didn’t want to paraphrase the philosopher Immanuel Kant who said that all humans, and rational beings, were ends in themselves.
I didn’t want to ask the media why the weight of human lives lost in one part of the world are of far more interest than those lost in another.
I didn’t want one single life to be lost in the name of anyone, or anything.
But I wanted to bear witness to all the dead of the media, the dead in the media, and the dead ignored by the media this week. The tragic victims of terrorism in France, Yemen and Nigeria. And also to the 8 separate people killed in London, in the first week of the new year. Today an 18 year old in Marylebone, and as the dreadful Wednesday 7th January 2015 closed out, with so many lives lost already, a 17 year old called Jeremie Malenge lay dying in the street in Homerton.
All lives lost, and for nothing that I can see, feel, touch, hear or speak to.
And yet, as I type, I know the numbers rise. And all I am doing is holding my breath… Holding my breath…