By Aidan Dion
On March 22, the Western world suffered another blow from the hands of the Islamic State. Before the dust settled from the bombs that killed 32 civilians at Zaventem Airport and Maelbeek Metro, rhetoric was already in works to strike back against the terrorist organization. This process is nothing new, however, for the Islamic State.
Having lost nearly a quarter of territory in Iraq and Syria over the last month, the Islamic State’s claim of an indestructible caliphate has been called into question, discouraging possible recruits. As they lose more ground in the territory, a global Caliphate is becoming nearly impossible.
Instead, they have attempted to prove their capabilities via attacks in France, Turkey, Indonesia, America, and Germany. For Western countries, the Islamic State is no longer a faraway threat. They have passed Europe’s doorstep and entered into the homeland.
The pressing issue is, “What do we do now?”
Following the Paris attacks, French president Francois Hollande proclaimed that they are at war while also pledging not to put boots on the ground. French pride is at an all-time high. Despite this pride, however, only a handful of airstrikes have been carried out in areas that the United States has bombed for the past two years. In reality, there has been little response to European attacks.
But the European media response is greater than ever in comparison to coverage for violence carried out in the East. The selective reporting by Western media detracts from the true threat of the Islamic State which commits more atrocities with greater casualties in the eastern countries than the individual attacks occurring in western countries.
The rising number of those killed while fighting has now surpassed 470,000 in Syria alone, the bulk of which are civilian casualties. Yet only when the carnage of the Middle East reaches the West do we hear of the fighting. Within one week of the attacks in Brussels, a suicide bombing in Iraq killed 32 people at a children’s soccer event. Additionally, Turkey has been dealing with several smaller bombings.
There are smaller media outlets that have actively reported on the raging war as well as larger outlets running shorter and simplified stories. However, few have successfully transmitted the horror of the violence to the masses.
This begs the question, if more Americans were informed of the fighting and violence, would more demand a response?
In a recent poll by Harvard University Institute of Politics, millennials were asked if they would enlist in the armed forces if President Obama called on them to fight the Islamic State. Only a shocking 16 percent said they would answer the call to war.
If the media reported on the harsh reality of the situation like they did on celebrity gossip or “fluff stories,” it is probable that there would be a rise in those willing to make a difference, whether this increased action would take the form of political movements, monetary aid, or new boots on the ground.
With the increased threat of terrorism around the world and the atrocities committed, it is the duty of the media to provide full and fair coverage so the public can make educated decisions and keep educated opinions.
There are hundreds of players in the game when it comes to Syria that continues to make intervention difficult. However, it goes without saying that the main issue is that of the Islamic State. Even if an increase in media coverage does not bring aid to those affected, then at least it will bring some type of dignity to those mercilessly killed.