I’m writing in response to the article published on November 23, 2015, entitled “Paris Attacks: How Do We Respond?” by Jordan Porter. Rather than contrasting the reactions to the recent terrorist attacks in the Middle East and those in Paris, the author would have contributed more to overall awareness of the circumstances by relating the bomb attacks near the train station in Ankara, Turkey, which left 102 people dead and 400 wounded on October 10; and the double suicide bombings in a Shiite neighbourhood in Beirut, Lebanon, which left 43 dead and over 200 wounded on November 12.

I do think the author was correct in his interpretation of mass public reaction to the triple attacks, in that focus had been primarily given to the Paris attacks. I think he should be commended for his empathy for the many thousands of people who become victims of terrorist attacks, regardless of where they are from. If there were more people like Mr. Porter in the world, we would be living in a kinder, stronger global community.
I do think that, here in Canada, the Paris attacks resonate more profoundly in our population due to historical relativity. Our country has deep historic ties with France, we are predominately bilingual in Canada, and we feel culturally intertwined with the French. Partly, this is why the media has an affinity for the Paris attacks over any other, and only briefly touched on the attacks in Turkey and Lebanon. What is paramount here is this is not a mass representation of a common consensus among everyone in Europe, North, and South America. The reactions we read and hear about are the personal views of individual journalists and their editors from radio, television, and print media outlets, which, in essence, are corporate identities, each one having a competitive interest in maximizing viewer ratings and profit.

Journalism is a business. It feeds off of our base emotions and caters to our whims and has a long, erroneous history of capitalizing on dramatic, horrendous events. Take for example the sensationalism exhibited by a recent CBC Radio broadcast by morning host Anna Maria Tremonte on her morning program “The Current”, which was broadcasted live from Paris shortly after the Paris attacks.

The news media does not speak for my family, my friends or me. They have absolutely no business conceptualizing what I think or feel and I shouldn’t feel relegated to a specific mindset of “people in the West (who) don’t care about the warring Middle East” simply because I live in Canada. Though at times I do feel a bit desensitized to the entire scenario due to the sheer volume of horrific events, I know in my core they affect and concern me. I personally care a great deal about what happens in the Middle East when war creates victims of oppression, poverty, and destitution, child soldiers, victims of rape, ruined economies, and civilian deaths.

The West certainly does care about the Middle East. Ordinary people and communities do care about casualties in the Middle East and do what they can to reasonably help. Take for example what the Peterborough community will be doing to sponsor refugees from Syria in the next few months. Western nations are keenly focused on Middle East foreign affairs because of the simple fact that the region is oil-rich and our nations have become so dependent on the resource, they can’t function without it. We should all be concerned about the people living in the Middle East and communicate our ideas directly with our governments as they try to broker treaties, placate allies, and subvert warfare – especially considering that our nations will, most assuredly, go to war over a region they have a personal, vested interest in.

– Steven Brak