Why the hashtags aren't coming out for Balochistan.

Blaise Hope   11 August 2016 06:02

Brilio.net - An horrific scene in a major city. A suicide attack. Its target - a hospital. Seventy people killed. More than 100 wounded.

Do you know what I'm talking about? You should. It happened this week.

The attack on a hospital in Quetta was a particularly horrific act in a string that has consistently dominated headlines.

Some, though, have dominated far more than others. The West, and in particular Western journalists, don't cover all of them the same way.

Just two days after the bombing you couldn't find a follow-up story on the BBC app's full Top Stories page. On the Asia page there was one, down near the bottom and a day old.

On CNN the story had disappeared.

The argument is that it's not the news a CNN or BBC audience wants to hear, not what it's looking for, but I don't buy that.

The outrage was palpable all over the world in 2014 when Taliban gunmen stormed a military school and killed 141, targeting the children of soldiers and officers in revenge for a campaign against them.

One hundred and thirty-two of those killed were kids. People called it Pakistan's 9/11.

The New York Times headline: "Pakistan's 9/11?"

The Guardian's headline? "Peshawar School Massacre: 'This is Pakistan's 9/11 - now is the time to act'."

There it is: 9/11. An attack against the Pakistani army, an army that famously had its academy a stone's throw from the compound in Abbottabad where US Navy Seals killed Osama Bin Laden. An army that was attacked because it pursued the Taliban, who grew world-famous for hosting Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, the perpetrators of 9/11.

Bin Laden. Taliban. Al Qaeda. 9/11.

That will be a story for the rest of this century, and the Quetta attack this week can't compete because journalists and editors in the West can't relate.

Yes, newsrooms are stretched as the industry struggles to deal with the internet. Yes, the Olympics is on. But what more do you need for a news story? Don't you have subscriptions to Reuters, the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg and whoever else? Doesn't murder always break at the top and stay there alongside the President or another timeless headliner?

Quetta is somehow paying the price of irrelevance. The capital of Balochistan? Meh, I'll pass.

It's not near the West's battleground.

But this is not the West's battleground. Nor is it Pakistan's. It is the world's and we have known that for years.

The loss belongs to everyone. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. Brilio does not necessarily support their viewpoint. 


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