Last April, 147 students were killed at the University of Garissa in Kenya by members of the terrorist group Al Shabab.
The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the “terrorist attack” and offered assistance “to prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism.” Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta offered his condolences to the families of the victims and the Kenyan government placed a $217,000 bounty on the head of Mohamed Kuno, a high-ranking official in the Al-Shabab terrorist group who is also thought to be the mastermind behind the attacks.
Kenyans, and others around Africa and the world, took to Twitter and Facebook as well as other social media networks to express their solidarity with the victims.
But Facebook didn’t activate its Safety Check feature, nor did it allow people to add a Kenyan flag on their profile picture; all the things Facebook immediately did in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.
“When 147 Kenyans were murdered, I didn’t see anybody changing their profile pic,” posted a user this morning. Another one wrote, “Facebook wants users to use French flag avatars. Where are the Lebanese, Yemeni, Nigerian, etc flags after massacres?”
These are some of the reactions trending this morning. Facebook is particularly being criticised because it did not do any of the things it did for the Paris attacks when the terrorist attack in Beirut happened less than 24 hours after those in Paris.
The majority of the people pointing the fingers are Africans, and ironically, those also offering a counter point of view are Africans. The attitudes are being described as reactionary seeing that it is the whole world that is suffering.
There are those who are going as far as calling Africans everywhere to take a long hard look at themselves. Social commentator Ikhide Ikheola posted on his Facebook page this morning,
“Fellow Africans, this is the plain truth: Others care about us more than we do. We don’t seem to care much. Tragedies in Africa are mostly mourned by outsiders. When they do, we whine that they are invested only in the single narrative. When they leave us alone, we call them racists.
We are always complaining, demanding things, legislating relationships and respect like the consumers from hell. Look at you, just now remembering you have a national flag and draping yourself in it. Good for you. Did you need the French to remind you of your issues?
Go and look at your history, from Biafra to the Chibok girls, who stood on the roof to yell for help? Not you. The other did. Leave us alone to mourn the way we know how, we are the sum of our experiences.”
Before the attacks on Garissa University, recommendations were given to President Uhuru to counter the fact that the terrorist group was getting more and more emboldened. Unfortunately, the recommendations were not implemented and 147 people, mostly students, senselessly lost their lives.