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The African Jihad Problem

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By Kylie Bull
Managing Editor of Homeland Security Today
Special to In Homeland Security

Last week, terror attacks in France killed 12 people. At the same time, Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria murdered approximately 2,000. The disparity in the media and public reaction to both events is immense. On the same day as the attacks on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris, the French reacted with public displays of unity, solidarity and defense of free speech. This diffused to other European countries and around the world. There have been no such displays or widespread condemnation in relation to the attacks in Nigeria, which not only amassed a greater number of casualties, but used female and child suicide bombers – one as young as ten years old.

Why is this? In this day and age surely there is nobody who believes that an African life is worth less than an American, a Dutch or an Australian life. No, it’s not that.

African Jihad Boko Haram
Nigerian-based Boko Haram has killed thousands.

Since September 11 2001, our perception of terrorism has morphed from “how dreadful for those poor people,” to, “can this happen to me?” Terrorism has spread like a virus around the world, seeping into every corner and becoming so commonplace that it is no longer something that happens elsewhere – it can happen to you. The public therefore identifies most with acts of terrorism that are closest to them, either in terms of geography, culture or theme – the attack on Charlie Hebdo’s staff was seen the world over as an attack on free speech, something many of us hold very dear.

A track appearing on a 1993 album by UK reggae band UB40 contains the chorus: it’s a long, long way from here, don’t you worry yourself my dear. Nigeria is a long way from the US and the UK, probably more so in terms of culture than geography. For that reason, we don’t worry about Boko Haram. It’s an African problem, right?

Read the full article at Homeland Security Today.

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