Why at the same time that we #PrayforParis, we turn our backs to Syria, Honduras, Darfur, Gaza or Nigeria? Have we lost our sense of empathy, indignation, or to be genuinely touched? Or it is just misinformation? Just to name the Nigerian case, independent reports show that the African country is currently experiencing a conflict situation, where between early 2014 and March 2015 at least 5,500 people were killed by Boko Haram (fundamentalist religious group which operates in open harmony with ISIS). The dry coldness of the numbers reveals at least two times the Paris attacks every month.
The French people deserve our unconditional support and prayers. But Paris today is reaping the bad apples of colonialism, social segregation, military interventions and support for external conflicts. Moreover, Europe still represents a migration policy whose main concern is to keep away unwanted humans beings. It is the policy of countries that transform the Mediterranean into a huge cemetery, where at least one Titanic sinks per year. Still, it seems the attacks in Paris were not undertaken by foreigners, but by European citizens. Fanaticism has no passport, and can be seen anywhere. So, one should oppose the reaction of some “leaders”, who are sending the following message to the global ghetto at war: stay in yours countries and survive our bombs if you are lucky, our compassion is selective, better to wait your turn!
They are opportunists like some US governors that currently are trying to deny refuge to victims of the Syrian conflict. Or as Donald Trump, which advocates for special identity cards to Muslims in the EUA. Meanwhile, we pray for Paris. But until when will we accept, just praying, that leaders of opulent Gulf countries maintain walls between their people and the world’s poor? Or allow that fanatics like George W. Bush or Bejamin Netanyahu hold global leadership positions? Certainly I do not have these answers, but I suspect that we should start improving things in our city; accepting that our neighbour will not burn in hell just because he or she prays to a different God (or simply do not pray); and opposing when our government export arms, bombs and soldiers to “save” that poor country that you cannot even point on the map.
We live in a time marked by an absurd contrast, already denounced by Norberto Bobbio, between the excess of power that creates conditions for killer wars, and excess of impotence that condemns large masses of people to misery. So pray if you want, it may help, but while we do not think about the global ghetto and take steps to promote social justice on our sphere of activity, barbaric attacks will continue to happen in Paris, Lagos, Damascus, Gaza, or anywhere else. And they will increasingly knock closer to your door, to your ghetto, and will make you see with your own eyes than just pray is not enough.