I spoke to Al Jazeera program The Stream this week during a special about how Beirut and Paris have been coping with the devastating massacres of last week. A day after the Paris attack, I wrote widely shared media analysis for Al Jazeera: “Just as Innocent: Comparing Beirut and Paris” identifying not only the wide disparity in the volume coverage between bombings in the two cities, but also deconstructing some of the media narratives that framed the violence in Beirut differently than Paris, where victims were mourned instead of categorized.
But on the Al Jazeera show we focused more on the situation on the ground in the two cities. I was joined by Lebanese blogger Elie Fares (whose post along with that of other Lebanese bloggers, such as Joey Ayoub, on the lack of global mourning for Beirut victims went quite viral and helped spark much of the Beirut Vs. Paris media debate) as well as activists/citizens Samia Hathroubi and Avi Herbatschek.
Beyond asking viewers to be sympathetic to Beirut, I also tried to highlight parts of Lebanon that often get forgotten by Beirut itself, and the broader problem of the privileged and somewhat oblivious bubbles many of us live in, both across the Western world and in more affluent parts of the Middle East. I argued that beyond sympathy, we should also ask deeper questions about the militarized states we live in, the weapons industry and those who take us to war.