In addition to stories of police brutality in America, I have also followed the shocking censorship (or rather silence) of the Western media in response to massacres, shootings in schools/hospitals and genocides that occur on a daily basis in the Middle East, that are not to be found broadcasted anywhere in the media in the UK. This is something I feel so strongly about and desperately wish was trending as much as Black Lives Matter is.
Just 3 weeks ago there was a horrific and inhumane shooting in a maternity hospital in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, where all nurses, mothers and newborns were brutally shot and murdered. In this shooting, gunmen entered and attacked a hospital of pregnant women, women in labour, women who had just given birth, their newborn babies and the nurses caring for them. There are petrifying images that can be found online of the floors and walls of the maternity unit covered in the blood of murdered newborn babies and mothers. But such a barbaric cruel shooting, targeting mothers and children, and innocent blood shed was not the only horrifying occurrence to come from the attack.
On the day it happened, a google search of the incident only showed 3-4 articles reporting the massacre and these were only Middle Eastern newspapers, whilst the BBC news headlines were broadcasting street parties in the UK for VE Day. There was a complete silence from the West and absence of coverage of a story that shocked even a country that has endured decades of bloodshed and tens of thousands of civilian deaths. As someone who was reading the few articles that were published online, it was shocking and sickening to say the least.
The attack happened around 12th May and the first article reporting it on BBC news was on 17th May. Had this been an attack on a maternity hospital in the West where white mothers and newborns were killed, I can say with certainty it would have made the headlines within seconds, just like story of the Notre Dame fire did. What shocks me to my absolute core and sickens me to the pit of my stomach, is that a google search of the Notre Dame fire right now shows the latest article on it was no longer than 1 day ago, despite it happening in April and describing the burning of a building, not humans. This Afghan massacre shooting nurses, mothers and babies was 3 weeks ago, and the article are ALL dated back to then:
This makes clear that the destruction of a piece of architecture in the West holds more value and worth than the murder and mutilation of 24+ women and infants in the Middle East. I still struggle to believe that, in 2020, this is the world we live in; a world in which a cry in the West in loud enough to drown the bloodshed and horrors of lost lives in an entire nation in the East. Kate McCann’s face has been painted across every newspaper front page yesterday and today and has been for 13 years, but where are the faces of the destroyed mothers who survived the vile attack, that did not even have the chance to hold their newborns before they were murdered at the hands of gunmen? Let alone the decades of faces of tens and thousands of mothers in war torn countries that fear for their children’s safety daily. Why is white middle-class Kate McCann’s misery so much more significant than those each and every one of those individual mothers, who go unnamed and unidentified.
Mothers from such countries as Afghanistan and Syria often send their children to the UK as refugees or immigrants in search of safety and a better life, as the mother of Shukri Abdi did. Shukri Abdi was a 12-year-old girl who was a refugee, she was black and she was Muslim. She had not made friends like the other children in her class, and experienced nothing but cruel and racist treatment from the moment she arrived in this country, OUR country. In 2019, her fellow classmates persuaded her to go with them after school and took her to a nearby river. They dared her to go in, knowing full well she couldn’t swim. They threatened to kill her if she didn’t. Then the group of girls began to drag her in by her scarf and laughed as she struggled and drowned that day in the River Irwell in Greater Manchester, where her body was found. Greater Manchester Police said it was treating what happened as a “tragic incident” and did not believe there were any suspicious circumstances, dismissing the case immediately, for no other evident reason but the fact that she was a black refugee child, and not white middle class. (The petition for justice for Shukri Abdi can be found here – please do take the time to sign).
It is apparent for anyone to see the difference between how the case of Madeline McCann was handled (and still is today) and how the case of Shukri Abdi was handled. Once again, there are countless up-to-date articles on Madeline McCann found on google, no older than a few hours despite her being kidnapped 13 years ago in 2007, whereas news articles on Shukri Abdi are all (except one) dated from before February despite her being murdered last year in 2019:
Her family were new to the country, first arriving in the UK in 2017, optimistic and hopeful of better and safer living conditions from their hometown in Somalia. Yet they were oblivious of the evil of institutional racism to which they were about to fall victim, which would murder their innocent 12-year-old daughter. Below is a thread from a student who attended the same school as Shukri Abdi, describing the full account in detail:
Those who complain daily of the supposedly unjustified violent behaviour of the current protests and how anxious is it making them seeing neighbourhoods and buildings being destroyed, ask yourself this; if that was your daughter who drowned in the river that day, would you politely be asking the police to reconsider their decision, or rather, would you not burn the entire country down? If you had endured years and years of systematic oppression and prejudice as a result of your race and the colour of your skin, would you not show the same anger and exhaustion at your oppressive institution.
The opinion of protesters as violent will come to a swift end when you put yourselves in the shoes of those who have suffered their entire lives. Once you come to realise that daughters, sons, mothers, fathers and entire families have been murdered and killed at the hands of racists acts with no justice served, you will also come to realise that throwing glass bottles at police horses is a rather trivial manifestation of their anger. You would look more towards their desperate struggle and fight for change that has been tirelessly ongoing for generations in this country, which people mistakenly believe to be culturally and racially inclusive.