This past Sunday, the United Nations announced that the death toll from a massacre in Mali increased to 160, with more fatalities expected. Referring to this “unspeakable” horror from Mali’s capital of Bamako, the visiting U.N. Security Council President, Francois Delattre, condemned the killings.
According to reports, at least 73 people were wounded, and the U.N. mission in Mali said it was “working to ensure the wounded were evacuated. In New York, the U.N. Secretary-General condemned the attack and called on the Malian authorities to swiftly investigate, and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Islamic extremists were ousted from urban centers in northern Mali during a 2013 French-led military operation, and since then, these misguided extremists scattered throughout the rural areas, regrouped, and began launching numerous attacks against the Malian military and the U.N. mission. In response, it has been reported that “anti-jihad” vigilante groups have formed, and one such group has claimed responsibility for this senseless massacre of innocent Muslim Malians. Amongst the victims were young kids, pregnant women, and the elderly.
According to Reuters, in response to this outrageous massacre, Mali’s President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, announced that an anti-jihadi vigilante group dispersed on Sunday, after the terrorists killed almost 160 innocent people out of retribution against individuals who very well may have had nothing to do with extremists.
Mali’s Prime Minister, Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, stated: “The protection of the population remains and will remain the monopoly of the state. Our forces will…actively disarm any person who should not be armed.”
Unfortunately, we turn our attention to the scant media coverage surrounding the Mali massacre, and the extreme lack of publicity from our own Muslim brothers and sisters. Whilst comparing tragedies remains unacceptable, it is striking to see the marked difference in coverage and attention between the horrific massacre in Christchurch 2 weeks ago, versus the equally tragic massacre in Mali this past weekend.
Author and activist Khaled Beydoun reflected that this lapse in coverage comes down to one basic, yet unacceptable, trope: “This is in part due to the pervasive stereotype that ‘violence is common to Africa.’ Juxtaposed with the notion that countries like New Zealand are ‘peaceful,’ and massacres are deviant.”
In light of this, we ask our Muslim brothers and sisters to consider this, and to do better. When one Muslim hurts, we all hurt, no matter the location.
To our fallen Malian brothers and sisters, “Inna lilahi Wa Inna Ilahi Rajioon. To Him we belong and to Him we return.”