While the world stood in solidarity with Parisians as they dealt with the tragic Friday night attacks, many did not know that ISIS suicide bombers also attacked a mostly Shiite suburban area the same week in Beirut, killing over 40 people.
According to reports, at least 43 people were killed and more than 200 were wounded in the the city’s worst attack in years. Children were amongst the dead, along with professionals such as professors and nurses. Beirut has been subject to attacks periodically, but had grown comfortable with relative peace over recent months. The attacks sent a shockwave through the community, and many Lebanese citizens felt that their grief was forgotten amongst the global support for France.
After the attacks happened in both countries, Facebook gave not only gave users the option to change profile pictures to the French flag colors to show an alliance with France, but they offered safety check-ins so family and friends of Parisians could know the safety status of their loved ones. Media sites immediately offered their support for France, creating graphics and sharing viral tweets for the country. Many questioned why the outpouring of support from these major media sites only included France when Lebanon also lost citizens in a horrific way. Social media pundits quickly noted that our society has become desensitized to attacks in the Middle East, and Western societies get immediate support while Middle Eastern communities that deal with bombings regularly are virtually forgotten.
ISIS has already vowed to carry out more atrocities. French warplanes launched airstrikes in Syria on Sunday in response to Friday’s attack.