I was surviving an ordinary rainy day in Brussels. In fact I decided to use the metro as my shelter against the heavy drops that did not feel like stopping. While observing the grey faces that, I like to believe, might have just adjusted themselves to the grey day, twenty yellow vests started to blur in front of my eyes.
At this point, and due to the rather irritating fluorescing colour, I re-set myself to ‘be present’ mood.
The twenty vests identified twenty kids. All around age 6-7. All noisy and somewhat disorganised, and all fighting with the power of speed in a very clumsy way. I looked at these faces and though they were the only rainbows among the grey adult faces, a minute later I felt a wet drop rolling down on my face.
No, it was not a leaking metro ceiling; I was crying.
Twenty kids. Twenty, happy-faced kids.
Do you know how much twenty is if esteemed in space? I tell you: Twenty kids easily fill up half a metro car.
So how many metro cars would 140 kids fill up? Bizarre question, isn’t it? But I must raise this. It seems nobody really knows that 140 kids would fill in 3,5 metro cars.
Breathe and visualize.
Do you feel the drop rolling down on your face?
If not, read on.
Yesterday’s breaking news was the following: Pakistan school attack in Peshawar killed 141 people.
It was just a day following the Sydney siege, where 3 people died and what kept the attention of the world for the whole 24-hours.
While the case of Sydney is surely shocking and heartbreaking, something keeps bothering me. During the day of Sydney’s lost innocence I got breaking news notifications every 10 minutes or so. Among others, I was informed who fled from the siege, when and how did s/he flee, how many police officers arrived, who is the person behind the hostage. I was also informed about a message from a mother, whose adult daughter was kept in the hostage. Later on, I was informed about the end of the story, but also about a news reporter, who broke down during her TV appearance finding out that she had connections to one of the victim. I got to know many other things, too, and I surely went to sleep knowing that the attack is considered as Sydney’s 9/11.
Let me remind you, three people died.
But back to Pakistan. Gunmen shot 141 kids, screaming that ‘there are kids under the bench, kill them all’.
Kids like your own, like your little brother, or sister, like you niece or nephew, like your god-kids, like you grandkids, like your neighbors’ kids.
Innocent kids, whose only daily duty is to sit in the benches, study books, dream about what they were going be when they grow up. 141 kids were doing their daily duties diligently, when the Taliban attackers killed them one by one, just like that. Or no, wait, not just like that: they killed these kids in the name of God.
I wonder what these Taliban terrorists were dreaming once, perhaps something like: ‘when I grow up I will be… I will be a cold-blooded killer.’
In a nutshell, this is what we know. Who, where, when, what. We know the basic news journalism features, but I was waiting for more. Where is the international uprising? The screams of genocide spreading through social media? Where are the changed profile pictures for Pakistani flags in the name of support? Where is the boycott Taliban transparence?
Where is the reaction? I mean the real reaction?
Where are the in-depth profiles of the mothers, who lost their children? Where are the presidents and ministers sending their deepest condolences? Where are the outrageous comments on the Taliban and their terrorist acts?
Today, I opened the main Hungarian media platforms. Not one reported on the massacre’s updates. Then I opened the English speaking platforms in Belgium. The situation was the same: nothing. Then I opened the New York Times. The middle section, known as ‘where the eyes fall’ said: A Flower Industry’s Heart Faces Competition. On the right column finally a report on the massacre. Washington Post’s main news was Ruble’s rapid tumble turns up heat on Putin.
To my relief that journalism is still alive, BBC and CNN did keep an eye on the developments of the attack.
Then, I scrolled down my social media walls. Hardly anything. Drip-drops.
Why is this important? Because I feel an offensive silence. I feel a distasteful quietness. I feel puzzled.
Should we assume that the media coverage distinguishes between lives and types of lives? I mean, would the three victims in Sydney worth more news (or hm, money) than 141 kids’ lives in Pakistan?
Or is the media coverage distinguishes based on geographical location? Or the disproportionality is simply due to that they don’t have people to report from certain countries? Or shall I assume the most bizarre assumption that people interested in certain deaths but not in others?
Am I the only one sitting surprised why the UN didn’t call an emergency meeting to pass a resolution? Just like it does so quickly when the players are named differently. Is it only me who feels a certain hypocrisy? A certain double standard? Is it only me, whose face is covered by involuntarily rolling, wet drops?
The metro car effortlessly passed the next four stations, not knowing that 20 yellow-vests are filling in one of its car. I missed my station, somewhere between the third and forth stop. I did not see or hear the sings. I was counting the yellow-vests.
One, two, three…twenty… one hundred and forty-one…