Orbital View: Don't Forget Beirut

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Anne Barnard of the New York Times compares the coverage of the Paris attacks on Friday, which killed at least 132 people, with the attacks in Beirut on Thursday, which killed at least 43:

The consecutive rampages, both claimed by the Islamic State, inspired feelings of shared, even global vulnerability — especially in Lebanon, where many expressed shock that such chaos had reached France, a country they regarded as far safer than their own. But for some in Beirut, that solidarity was mixed with anguish over the fact that just one of the stricken cities — Paris — received a global outpouring of sympathy akin to the one lavished on the United States after the 9/11 attacks. [...] “When my people died, no country bothered to light up its landmarks in the colors of their flag,” Elie Fares, a Lebanese doctor, wrote on his blog. “When my people died, they did not send the world into mourning. Their death was but an irrelevant fleck along the international news cycle, something that happens in THOSE parts of the world.”

Facebook is also catching flak:

In a post shared more than 10,000 times on Facebook, Lebanese blogger Joey Ayoub criticised the apparent disparity in reactions to the two sets of attacks, arguing that the deaths in Beirut did not seem to matter as much as the deaths in Paris. “We don’t get a safe button on Facebook. ‘We’ don't get late night statements from the most powerful men and women alive and millions of online users. It’s a hard thing to realise that for all that was said ... most of us members of this curious species, are still excluded from the dominant concerns of the world,” Ayoub wrote.