Over the weekend, millions of people gathered in Paris to show solidarity against the attacks on the French paper, Charlie Hebdo. The universal outcry of the #JeSuisCharlie campaign was also present at The Golden Globes, where stars like George Clooney and Jared Leto made sure viewers knew that they were thinking of the people of France, and the 17 lives lost in the attack.
But on the other side of the equator, the people of Nigeria were mourning the loss of over 2,000 civilians killed in a recent raid, as well as the shocking news that a suicide bombing in the small village of Maidugury was perpetrated by a young woman, somewhere between the age of 10 and 20.
While it's not confirmed, many people suspect that this attack is connected to terrorist group Boko Haram. Yes, the same Boko Haram responsible for inspiring last year's ubiquitous #BringBackOurGirls campaign.
Around noon on Saturday, the girl in question was being screened at the entrance of the marketplace in Maidugury, which is the typical process in that town. Several reports say that she refused to cooperate with the screening and before security could detect the bomb the explosives went off, killing her and about 20 others. An additional 18 were wounded, according to police. The hospital reports that 51 people were injured.
Attacks on marketplaces are not rare, nor is it unheard of for this specific marketplace to be attacked (hence the screenings). In November, more than 45 people were killed in a suicide bombing at the very same marketplace, and Saturday’s attack marks the fourth since last summer.
This attack is getting special attention because of the age and sex of the bomber. Suicide bombers are more often (though not always) male, and they tend to be older. It would be almost unheard of, and truly heartbreaking, if this suicide bomber turned out to be as young as witnesses claim. A hospital official who spoke to the New York Times reported that, “the body is beyond recognition, but from the face you can see it’s a young person. A young pretty girl.”
Following Saturday's violent events, two more female suicide bombers attacked Potiskum, another city in Nigeria, the very next day.
"Two female suicide bombers targeted the mobile phone market in Potiskum this afternoon, but they blew up before the could reach their targets," said Police Commissioner Marcus Danladi.
Many people are angry that these attacks are getting so little attention. Some blame the implicit bias of the Western media, while others say the silence has more to do with the political motivations of the Nigerian government than global outrage. Either way, people began using the hashtag #BokoHaramKilled2000People to spread awareness (Editor's Note: The images from the attack are extremely graphic and potentially upsetting).
It's impossible to try to make sense of these tragedies, but it's vital that we keep talking about them. As one Tweeter pointed out, what makes one massacre more newsworthy than another?