Oslo attacks deserve our undivided attention


Last week’s bombing and shooting in Oslo, Norway marks a devastating manifestation of domestic terrorism in a nation that has been mostly peaceful since World War II.

Unlike other incidents in the years following 9/11, the Oslo attacks did not occur in an area of the world where violence is unfortunately mainstream nor can they be attributed to international terrorism.

The questions that Oslo raises about domestic and global security are not just challenges for Norway but for the entire international community.

Yet, on Saturday, July 23, one of the top trending topics on Twitter was the death of British pop star Amy Winehouse. Tweets about Winehouse’s death comprised almost ten per cent of all tweets on that day.

The tragic act of domestic terrorism in Oslo, however, barely trended in the United States and comprised less than one per cent of all tweets on Friday — the day of the attack — and less than half a per cent on the same day as Winehouse’s death on Saturday.

On early Monday, Amy Winehouse was still trending and Oslo was nowhere to be found.

When the vast majority of Twitter users are under the age of 30, this poses a sad question about the priorities of this generation.

While it is possible for people to mourn both tragedies at the same time and while we need not debate which tragedy is greater, we need to ask ourselves why such a brutal terrorist attack gets so little play in mainstream or social media.

Perhaps it is easier to ignore Oslo and the unanswerable question of how one man could so sinisterly invade a camp and take the lives of innocent children on a 90 minute shooting rampage. Maybe it is easier to turn our attention to a pop star whose rapid rise to fame was marked by an even faster decline into “train wreck” territory. Or, quite possibly, this post-9/11 generation is too accustomed to random acts of violence and hate.

Even so, the victims’ families deserve more than our obligatory sympathy. They deserve more than American media briefly considering whether this had connections to international terrorism and al-Qaeda before quickly moving onto stories with more immediate impact.

And, they deserve more than being forced to play second fiddle to a British pop star who lived dangerously on the edge, and aired her issues in front of an audience bent on watching her dramatic rise and fall.

—The Cord Editorial Board

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