The world mourns for Paris. A bloody Friday night of November the 13th kicked off what was supposed to be a regular weekend in Paris. The attacks that hit the city of lights were the worst violence in France since World War II, a series of terror attacks that killed more than 120 people.
People around the globe took to social media to express their horror and dismay at the violent attacks and to express their solidarity with the French citizens and specifically the residents of Paris. However, as much as civilized and considerate all the portrayed solidarity was, it revealed the double standards of the western mainstream media if not to go as far as saying that it also revealed the hypocrisy of those media outlets.
Just one day before the Paris attacks that left the country in lockdown, suicide bombings in Beirut, Lebanon on Thursday November 12 left 43 dead and 239 wounded. According to a terrorist who survived, the attack was reportedly carried out by an ISIS cell sent to Lebanon from the group’s stronghold inside Syria.
The twin explosions took place in the southern part of the city Beirut, near a busy open-air market in the Bourj al-Barajneh district. The terror group’s online supporters claimed its militants blew up a motorbike loaded with explosives. The blasts, which struck near a small mosque, a community center, bakery and a hospital, were the first attack on Lebanese soil for more than a year.
At approximately 6:00 pm Thursday evening, one of the terrorists, who had strapped a bomb onto a motorcycle, exploded himself. Seven minutes later, after people had gathered to help the wounded and to clear the casualties, another terrorist blew himself up. In the sense of where this attack took place, this is a very crowded, low-income neighborhood located near one of the also packed Palestinian refugee camps of Bourj el-Barajneh. The timing of the attack was deadly. 6:00 pm on a school night means people had already been home from work, children had finished school and local residents had been out at the marketplace shopping for dinner. As for the third terrorist, who also attempted to blow himself up after people would have re-gathered around the crime scene, he was fortunately captured by the Lebanese Army personnel who rushed to the scene. Mind you that the attack occurred only 300 meters away from one of the numerous military checkpoints that spread across all entry routes into the Dahye district, (Beirut suburbs) the area which is usually targeted by ISIS terrorists.
The scene was one of chaos, carnage, fires and destruction, with many victims killed by flying glass and falling bricks. A government source suggested the second bomber attempted to enter a crowded mosque but was stopped by the heroic behavior of one man, Adel Termos. Termos was in the market and witnessed the first explosion. Reportedly, he saw another bomber preparing to detonate, and jumped into action. Termos hugged his killer, to release the number of casualties. Adel hugged a suicide bomber causing the explosion to be contained within his own body. Adel Termos is now remembered as a national hero, and also another victim of this terrorist attack.
The approach in which the Western mainstream media chose while dealing with the terrorist attacks in Beirut was plain despicable. Major news outlets chose to describe these bombings as evidence that the ongoing war in Syria is increasingly becoming a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Examples of outlets are like that of like the BBC, Al Jazeera and Reuters, which described the area that was attacked as “a Hezbollah stronghold”. The issue of using a term like Hezbollah stronghold, or as Reuters headline put it, Hezbollah bastion, basically buys into the narrative of ISIS. It is exactly how ISIS would want to portray its side of the story in order to appeal the empathy of its followers, in a way to propagate legitimate motives to come into certain parts of Lebanon and conduct these kinds of terrorist attacks in highly populated civilian areas and terrorize the public.
This demented ISIS narrative is being widely echoed by the international press and the mainstream media outlets which sadly gives acceptance to the ISIS plot. Hence, shifting the global compassion and solidarity away from the actual tragedies not only inflicting Lebanon, but also the thousands of tragedies which have been draining the Middle East ever since the US chose to invade and occupy Iraq back in 2003.
Disturbing as it is, such events in the Middle East will remain largely unnoticed in the western news cycle unless we choose to be upfront and outspoken about our demands for real and unbiased reporting and journalism.