It has not been a good Easter season this year. It started with a massive fire, which has almost destroyed one of the most famous churches in Christendom and it finished with a series of terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, which targeted three churches, four hotels and a unit block in three localities around the island. While the Notre Dame fire has fortunately been casualty-free, the repair bill is likely to be in the billions; in Sri Lanka, meanwhile, the death toll has now passed 300, including 30 foreign tourists. Two Australian citizens who resided locally are among the dead. While no group has yet officially claimed responsibility for the attacks, the indigenous radical Islamist group National Thowheeth Jama’ath is almost certain behind them. And so, after the bloody blip of Christchurch, it is back to business as usual of jihadis targeting infidels (whether Christian or Buddhist in this case) and “the Crusaders”.
I have, a few weeks ago, blogged about the question of the mainstream Western media downplaying anti-Christian violence and persecution around the world. There are many layers of explanations, many of them not involving any animus or bias, just some cold hard media metrics. The Sri Lanka attacks, involving seven, possibly more, high profile targets in a country that is a significant tourist destination, were just too brazen and too much in the social media spotlight of those present at the scenes to remain internationally under-reported, as some other recent attacks against Christians in Nigeria and the Philippines have been. Then there is the fast climbing death toll. Taken all together, it means that this case of brown people killing other brown people will not easily fall off the news.
Not that this will necessarily stop certain stylistic anomalies, including the nomenclature:
But at least May, Obama and Clinton have not been as opaque as the Australian Greens’ leader:
Deeply saddened by the attacks in Sri Lanka and the targeting of people gathering in peace.
The @greens grieve in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan members of the Australian community for those who have lost their lives and been injured.
— Richard Di Natale (@RichardDiNatale) April 21, 2019
As Rep Ilhan Omar would probably say, some people did something to some people gathering in peace.
Then there are the sadly not unexpected hot takes from a BuzzFeed editor:
Suspect we’d be hearing a lot more outrage from Trump and co. if the Christians killed in Sri Lanka were white https://t.co/7bNAiymzib
— Miriam Elder (@MiriamElder) April 21, 2019
…and another “journalist”:
There is no excuse for terror attacks against innocent people but as a journalist I saw Western Christian missionaries unscrupulpusly converting Buddhist orphans for food and shelter after the Asian tsunami. Don't send your prayers. #SriLankaBlasts https://t.co/rFNMShqfW1
— Andy West (@AndyWestTV) April 21, 2019
I’m still not sure whether West is drawing some sort of moral equivalence between converting people and blowing them up, or whether he is putting the ultimate blame on Christian missionaries, because if they were not converting Buddhists to Christianity, some of the these locals would still be alive. Either way, it’s gross and irrelevant – it’s not Sri Lankan Buddhists who decided to retaliate against Christians but Islamists.
No doubt there will be more – of both terrorism as well as equivocating.