African Lives Matter!


Natural disasters are always occurring across the globe, and it often leaves a tumultuous trail of death and despair. As a global community, we are always there to aid our brothers and sisters after the disaster. However, one must ask if there is a bias towards and against certain groups of people across ethnic and national lines whenever disaster strikes.In the final days of August 2017, the world watched as Hurricane Harvey devastated the Southwestern U.S state of Texas where many parts of the city of Houston have been submerged in water. The storm story has received immense media coverage and many celebrities, athletes, local organizations, and large corporations have donated millions of dollars to aid those who have been affected by this storm. But what about Sierra Leone?A mudslide occurred in Sierra Leone in the same month yet the major media outlets around the world did not provide the same in depth coverage of this story as they did for Hurricane Harvey. The 499 people who died, and the 600 people that have gone missing and  will likely end up deceased when all the rubble is clear is as much of global outcry as any other disaster, yet there is not much light being shone on it. The streets have been flooded with many decomposed bodies, which can lead to the spread of airborne diseases. Aid can be sent to Sierra Leone to assist with the many efforts to clean up the country before there are grave medical consequences. One must wonder where the rich and famous that have the means to assist this nation with aid relief are to help with the situation. There is no mantra of ‘We stand with Sierra Leone’ or ‘Let us save Sierra Leone’ as most of the world is oblivious to what has taken place in the West African nation.The question of do African lives matter must be addressed because whenever disasters like this occur on the continent, whether it be natural, political, or social there is a failure to adequately cover the story, unless there is some type of hidden agenda the media has in mind.The media tends to favour specific kinds of issues and emergencies over others. In Nigeria where   Boko Haram raided villages some years ago, the media did shine a significant light on this story. This could be because the Boko Haram is an Islamic terrorist group. Their position as radical Muslims promotes an image of radical Islam being a threat to national security, and that is the image of Islam that the media wants and continues to portray to the world. In July of 2015 the Boko Haram raided a village and killed 145 people. In that same year in November the world stood in harmony with France after  ISIS attacked and killed 130 people, chanting the mantra ‘We stand with France’. One must ask why the same sympathy for the 130 in France was not felt for the 145 in Nigeria.Africa and its people have always been viewed in a negative light. Many people on the continent live through deplorable conditions, but because the continent is viewed as a wasteland the social and political ills of the continent often get over looked. In this highly technological world we can connect with one part of the world through something as small as a cell phone. There is no excuse for people to be ignorant to what is going on. We are all a part of the global community, whether we live in Houston, Lagos, Freetown, or Paris it is our obligation to care for all of our citizens, because African Lives Matter too!

Featured image | Hurricane Harvey flooding | flickrThe views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.Do you find this topic interesting? Why not contribute to our blog?