29 Egyptians were left dead in the brutal gunman attack on a bus in Minya. This was just the latest in a string of assaults on the Coptic Christian community. But unlike the previous acts of terrorism, this incident was not met with the same vocal outrage. Social media was largely silent; no images of solidarity or mass messages calling for peace, love and harmony; no widespread moves to raise money for the loved ones. For once, the international media has focused far more on this incident than the national press. In Paris they even turned off the Eiffel Tower lights in tribute to those that died in Minya. So where is the outrage in Egypt towards the deaths? Why has the media ignored this attack making it seem less important and significant than the others?
The answer is to do with timing. People were so focussed on Ramadan beginning on the 27th, that they seem to have developed amnesia about what happened on the 26th. Of course it is understandable that excitement for Ramadan has gripped us all and especially at the start of the month we are incredibly busy, inundated with family events and eager to begin the Mosalsalat. But that shouldn’t make us forget about important things.
The power of things being in public attention should not be underestimated. Just last week, the demolishing of Kiteloop by the military caused outrage in the media and online, with hashtags and fundraisers beginning almost instantly and thousands of people rushing to offer their opinion, provoking important discussions. This type of reaction should not be selective, we should be this outspoken and passionate in the face of injustice regardless of the time of year that it occurs.
Instead of becoming obsessed exclusively with the celebrities in the Ramadan TV series, the media should be leading the way, making sure that there is space for important news, so that the victims are remembered and the country can ensure that it is moving in the right direction to avoid further unnecessary death. With new information coming out regarding the incident in Minya every day in relation to its ties to ISIS and the ramifications on domestic policy, it still should remain headline news; people need to be informed! It is not up to the media outlets to decide what incidents we should focus on, and which we shouldn’t.
Of course Ramadan is there to be enjoyed and we definitely should make the most of having amazing events and such fabulous entertainment on TV. But at the same time, we can’t let the tragedy that occured in Minya go ignored and the lives that have been lost forgotten.