By now, much of the world knows there has been a gun battle in Lebanon. The shooting, which killed one person, took place in a poor neighborhood near the sports stadium where clashes have happened many times before. The story made the front page of BBC news. See right column:
It was not clear what the fight was exactly about–but because the rival gangs have different views on the Assad regime– the story was immediately framed as part of the war in Syria.
The story probably made the front page of dozens of websites. Meanwhile, what most of the world probably doesn’t know, is that several deadly shootings took place in the United States over the last 24 hours, also in poor neighborhoods. In Houston, Philidelphia, Anaheim, Brooklyn, Newark, Los Angeles:
Phoenix, Rhode Island, San Francisco, Orlando and Baltimore…
That’s just the first few pages of Google News. There are probably plenty more.
So why did none of these stories make the front page of BBC and other outlets? Why is a fatal gang shooting in a poor neighborhood in Lebanon more important than the tens of gang shootings per day in poor neighborhoods across America?
Does our exotification of violence in far away places take precedence over lives lost at home? Whatever the reason, the result has been the vilification of Lebanon and other Arab countries by the US State Department and media organizations (like The Daily Beast) who routinely list them as the most dangerous places on earth, despite exponentially higher levels of violence in their own country.