While they are an awful, deadly, terrorist organization, ISIS is not the deadliest terrorist organization. Boko Haram, a group that is often brushed over by the media is actually the deadliest terrorist organization. According to the New York Times, ISIS was responsible for 6,073 deaths, while Boko Haram was responsible for 6,664 deaths. Both of these numbers are tragic and staggering. However, we continually only hear about one of these groups.
When was the last time a politician said the Boko Haram was the biggest global terror threat? None that I’ve known has said that recently. Why is this? Maybe it’s because they are a huge terror threat to countries in Africa, but they are not a direct threat to the U.S. ISIS, the group who has killed less, seems to be a greater threat to the western world, so they are more heavily reported on. But that does not mean that we should ignore Boko Haram – the deadliest terror organization.
I have seen a handful of reports in the news and online about Boko Haram surpassing ISIS, yet I have seen countless hours of coverage on ISIS attacks. It is all terribly tragic. But, they should both be reported on – not to give coverage for the terror groups, but to let the faces and stories of the victims be known. If we do not confront the biggest terror threat in the media, if we do not address them as a nation, then we are ignoring the murders of thousands of innocent lives, taken at the hands of radical islamic terrorism, each year.
The media breezes over the stories that they think are irrelevant or uninteresting to American culture. Did you hear about the hostage situation in Mali last week? Hundreds of people were held up in a hotel by Boko Haram. At least 27 people were killed. Do you remember when there were hundreds of girls kidnapped from a school in Nigeria? Most of them still haven’t been found. And just a few days ago, Boko Haram killed 49 people with suicide bombs.
If we are claiming that every life matters from conception, then we must ask, does every life still matter at death? Is there an equality in the deaths of the victims in Paris and the victims in Nigeria? We might feel more attached to the people who are killed when they are in western civilization as opposed to in a country in western Africa, but does that make one life, or one death, more worthy of reporting on than another?
Just because one terrorist organization poses a greater direct threat to the U.S., it does not mean we should neglect to report on the deaths by Boko Haram. Whether the reporting is unequal because of the threat to western civilization, or if it has become unequal because we have become desensitized to deaths in countries that we have no attachment to, we must change this. If we are going to preach as a nation that every life matters, we should report the same way. Otherwise, if our nation wants to preach that one life is more important than another, then we need to rethink the entire premise of the American dream.