Manchester vs Kabul: the narrative which devalues non-Western lives2 min read

Jackie Contreras


Tragedy struck Manchester last month after a man detonated a bomb at an Ariana Grande concert. Four thousand miles away from England another bomb went off, this time in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Support for the Manchester victims and their families have flooded in as people across social media have expressed their condolences. A benefit concert was even held to raise money for the affected victims and their families. The silence following the attack in Kabul illustrates the sharp contrast between reactions toward western nations and those for developed nations after violent terrorism.

The Manchester attack killed 22 people, while over 150 deaths were reported in Kabul near the Afghan presidential palace.

A death toll as high as 150 would raise global alarm, hundreds of Go Fund Mes, and social media outlets would overflow with tributes of love and support, if the attack was against a more developed nation.

The world was left grieving after terrorist attacks ripped through Paris in December 2015. The hashtag “pray for Paris” spread online, as government buildings and attraction sights lit up with the colors of the French flag. Facebook users were given the option to update profile pictures as way to express solidarity with Parisians.

News outlets are certainly less devoted in covering terrorism attacks against non-western nations because they know that the general viewer base is indoctrinated to favor western lives over others. The way in which society reacts to terrorist attacks against these two very different nations is rooted in a bias which values whiter lives while normalizing violence against brown nations.

The Manchester attack was devastating and deserves significant attention, but it’s essential that our society become more attentive to the happenings outside of our western world. Every Time a major attack occurs on a more “developed” nation’s soil, ask yourself if you would care nearly as much if they were African lives, Afghan lives, Iraqi lives, etc. We must learn to value lives across the board instead of accepting that certain people are relegated to expected violence, war, and death.