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After Gunmen Kill at Least 147, Where Is the World's Solidarity With Kenya?

Categories: Sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya, Citizen Media, International Relations, Media & Journalism, War & Conflict
Relatives line up at the Chiromo funeral home in Nairobi to identify bodies of their kin killed after Al-Shabaab attacked Garissa University College in northeastern Kenya. Photo by Boniface Muthoni. Copyright Demotix [1]

Relatives line up at the Chiromo funeral home in Nairobi to identify bodies of their kin killed after Al-Shabaab attacked Garissa University College in northeastern Kenya. Photo by Boniface Muthoni. Copyright Demotix

Al-Shabaab militants attacked [2] Garissa University College in Kenya on 2 April 2015, killing at least 147 people, mostly students, and injuring 79. More than eight times as many people were cut down by the violence than were killed during the Charlie Hebdo shooting [3] in France, which left 17 dead, yet the Garissa tragedy hasn't prompted anywhere near the same level of international solidarity as the Paris attack.

There was a similar criticism after the Baga massacre [4] in Nigeria, which occurred around the same time as the Charlie Hebdo killings. While the latter saw an unprecedented show of sympathy [5] with more than 40 heads of states participating in a rally [6] of national unity, the former received scant coverage and attention.

In the wake of the horrific Garissa violence, Twitter users were quick to notice the lack of international reaction. Shekhar Kapur from Mumbai, India, concluded:

While Idriss Ali Nassah observed:

Life is sacred everywhere, @borderlessciti wrote, tweeting at media heavyweight Oprah Winfrey and Huffington Post editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington:

‘Switch off television news’

Observers criticised what coverage Western media did give the attack, as well.

After CNN wrongly placed [23] Tanzania in Uganda and Nairobi in Nigeria on a map of East Africa, the Africa is a Country blog suggested that [24] people switch off television news to make sense of the attack:

To make sense of the attack by Al Shabaab on Garissa University near Kenya’s border with Somalia (official count of fatalities are 148; others say closer to 200), you may want to switch off television news. Especially since CNN is moving Nairobi to Nigeria and Tanzania to Uganda. Crucial will be how these attacks will be framed in the next few hours and especially how the Kenyan state will respond (already they’ve blamed the judiciary and in the past they’ve round up Somalis despite little evidence). Equally important is public opinion. So, like we did at the time of the attack by Al Shabaab on the Westgate Mall in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, we’ve compiled a bunch of links, including some twitter accounts, we suggest you read or follow.

Idriss Ali Nassah stressed the need for Africa to tell its own stories:

KiGossip.Com wondered why a CNN journalist would ask a survivor if he/she was scared:

However, a few users noted that even local media houses are not doing a good job:

JuwelsM argued that Africans should drive their own narrative: