Media obsession with ISIS has resulted in reduced coverage of another militant Islamist group: Boko Haram.

Boko Haram is a militant group that is fighting to overthrow the Nigerian government and establish its own Islamic state. The term “Boko Haram” loosely translates to “Western education is forbidden” in the local Hausa language. Officially, the group’s name is Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, which, in Arabic, means: “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”.

Although the group was founded in 2002, it has been become a huge issue in Nigeria since 2009. Since 2009, Boko Haram has killed over 20 thousand people and displaced over 2.3 million people from their homes. Even one million students have been forced out of their schools since the group’s insurgence.

In fact, just at the start of February, Boko Haram killed 86 people, including children, in a village in northeastern Nigeria. Witnesses even reported horrid accounts of hearing children screaming as they burned to death inside their homes.

I found out about this incident much after it occurred, which disappoints me. The media coverage was minimal. Compared to the ISIS attacks in Paris, the coverage was almost non-existent. Why is it that an act of terrorism is so highly publicized, while a similar occurrence in the third world receives minimal media coverage? This is absurd.

The fact that a large percentage of the Western population has never heard of Boko Haram is proof of this lack of awareness. This is not an argument to undermine the attention the Paris attacks received in the media; that was a truly atrocious act of terrorism. My point is simply to say that the Nigerian people deserve the same sympathy that the French received. Globalization is propelling us to an international community. However, our loyalties still largely lie towards either our known people, or people that lead similar lifestyles. It is time to embrace a global community. It is time to care for the entire human race.

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