With no media coverage, no international uproar, no "cool" trending hashtags and certainly no "solidarity marches" from world leaders, nine innocent Lebanese civilians were killed and scores of others injured in a twin suicide blast that targeted a local cafe last week in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli. I bet you didn't read about that in your local newspaper. [tag]
Well, it's Islamic radicalism, the catchphrase of the day if you will, rearing its "foreign-financed", ugly head again in Lebanon, though with no fanfare or frenzied news coverage. For this is not Paris; it's just a shabby little neighborhood called Jabal Mohsen. Who cares about a handful of poor Lebanese workers whose only crime is that they're of the Alawi sect? And in every case when Muslims kill each other, it's not branded as terrorism, is it? It's a full blown legitimate revolution, according to the CIA manual; let these grumpy Muslims finish each other off while arms, ammunitions and weaponry are parachuted, shipped, funneled and smuggled in to the vilest of extremists to fuel this internal bloodletting whenever it happens to die down a little.
So a twin suicide bombing, not a mere
Kalashnikov assault dare I remind you; for we are past such "pedestrian"
methods here in the Arab World. Suicide bombings, booby-trapped vehicles and
head chopping just proved to be more effective, I guess. Double suicide bombing
tactics are deliberately employed to ensure the largest number of casualties, with two suicide bombers in quick succession to get
first responders as well. Kind of reminds you of American drones' "double tap"
tactics, doesn't it?
Al-Qaida's official franchise in Syria, Jabhat Al Nusra, claimed responsibility for the deadly attack. The reason? Well, no one in that cafe mocked the prophet with distasteful drawings or cartoons, far from it; it's just that they're Alawites, that's enough these days to get you and your co-religionaries blown to pieces while you're smoking sheeshah at your favorite local coffee shop. Welcome to post-Arab Spring politics.
The suicide bombers were aged 22 and 21 which just goes to show the brand of vile indoctrination and methodical sectarianism that are being carried out throughout the Arab world today, something that can only be accomplished on a high organizational and equally methodical level.
As one would expect these days, this suicide bombing barely made a blip on the heavily skewed radar of mainstream media outlets, whose coverage is still dedicated to the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Evidently, the fact that the targeted coffee shop is located in an impoverished, predominantly Alawite neighborhood in Lebanon as opposed to Paris or any other western city for that matter, relegated this terrorist bombing along with its "hashtagless" victims to the equivalent of a footnote (if that), unworthy of proper coverage or even the merest of condemnations.
The Arab media was no better; not even a whimper could be heard from all those so-called humanitarians and liberals in the Arab and Islamic worlds, who stumbled over themselves en masse in impromptu candle vigils and denunciations steeped in hypocrisy and self-lynching on the heels of the #jesuischarlie media circus, and we love western media stunts to the point of fetishisation, don't we? I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that the Ice Bucket challenge actually went viral in the Arab world at a time when Gaza was being literally incinerated.
A day after the twin suicide bombings in Tripoli, Lebanese protesters gathered in a public square in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo magazine. And what did the murdered victims of Jabal Mohsen get? Dead silent dispassion.
We live by trending hashtags these days, our daily social and political intake has devolved from already malnourished, quick sound bites into "snappy" and, more often than not, misleading catchphrases. And if victims of a given suicide bombing in the Arab World are not assigned a personalized, creative hashtag, their murder is likely to be sidelined in favor of the next Kardashian BreakTheInternet stunt.
That's what the "unwashed" victims of terrorism get here in the Third World: complete indifference neatly wrapped in a thick crust of silence and deliberate media blackouts from a world that prides itself on "selective humanitarianism" and wears its unabashed hypocrisy proudly on its blood-soaked sleeve. A world whose limited quota of sympathy and compassion seem to be reserved only for "blowback" moments when the pendulum of terrorism hits it painfully in the face.
How can one measure the value of a human life? What makes the slain cartoonists of a satirical magazine in France more valuable than the lives of thousands of Iraqis, Lebanese, Syrians, Afghans, Libyans and others? Suicide bombings in Iraq that claim the lives of innocent civilians by the hundreds each month have become a sort of sordid fait acommpli for the entire Iraqi population, getting the secondary-news-item treatment from mainstream media, absolutely decontextualized, with no sense of outrage or compassion, no slow-mo short clips with an over-dramatic score or voice-over. Only cold statistical recounting of nameless, faceless casualties at the very tail of a news bulletin.
Who's to say that the building of Charlie Hebdo is more newsworthy than that small coffee shop in Jabal Muhsen, the overcrowded streets and market places of Baghdad or wedding parties incinerated by American hellfire missiles in Afghanistan?
Maybe it's the fact that the victims were artists that made the Charlie Hebdo massacre more appalling. Ok then, what about the hundreds of artists and would-be artists who suffer daily the brunt of America's wars and interventions in our region? What about Iraqi scientists, talented engineers and university professors plucked one after another and assassinated CIA style on the heels of Bush's disastrous "liberation" of Iraq? What about Palestinian caricaturist (imagine that?) Mohammad Sabaaneh who was summarily jailed by the Zionist regime for his drawings? Didn't he deserve freedom of speech? Or Palestinian football players Jawhar Nasser Jawhar and Adam Abd al-Raouf Halabiya (yes we should remember their names), who were shot in their legs by Israel soldiers after coming home from a training session, ending their sports career even before it had begun? Another Palestinian footballer, Mahmoud Sarsak, a member of the Palestine national football team, had to starve himself out of one of Israel's notorious "administrative detention" dungeons. His teammate, footballer Zakaria Issa however, was not so lucky, as he died after undertaking a similar hunger strike. What about Syrian actor Mohammad Rafea who was kidnapped and violently killed and maimed by western-backed Islamic radicals on Wahhabi steroids who were unleashed on the Syrian people to bring about regime change?
And I'm almost sure it has nothing to do with the fact that the victims of the Paris terrorist attack had blue eyes and white skin, because the names of Rachel Corrie, Thomas Hurndall, and Tristan Anderson would not ring the faintest of bells with those same solemn-faced leaders and heads of states who marched down Paris streets last week denouncing "blowback" terrorism, when the great majority of these marchers are shameful accomplices in the vilest of terrorism pioneered and unleashed by everyone's darling: Israel.
I'm not against marching in solidarity with the slain victims of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack (unless of course it's marred by a mind-bending, purpose-defeating participation of certified terrorists and child killers of the Netanyahu variety), but I say let's march for everyone, for all victims of terrorism, starting with the countless of victims of America's illegal wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Let's start with Palestinian victims of the nonstop Israeli war and siege apparatus, let's start with the now-forgotten half a million Iraqi baby-victims of America's sanctions and economic warfare, and over a million Iraqis dead after the invasion. Let's start with the daily, anonymous victims of drone warfare and predatory kill lists in Pakistan, Yemen and God knows where else, let's start with the victims of foreign-sponsored Jihadi terrorist and head-choppers in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
And the list goes on.