This is the 7th day of wall wall-to-wall coverage of the Christchurch massacre, much the same length of time as media interest in the Manchester massacre. Both events had their heroes, both were subsequently commemorated by flowers and candles, and both have been weaponised, one by anti-islamists, the other by a media laden with its own agendas.
If I begin my next sentence with ‘What about’, I’m not on the verge of committing the new cardinal sin of ‘Whataboutism’ or the more serious sin of attacking an entire religion or culture. In Manchester and Christchurch the media spotlight focused on heroes and saints, and both events illustrate equally the beauty of human nature and its foulness.
And with that warning:
What about the recent massacre in the Philippines where 20 Filipino Christians were murdered in a church attack in January 2019?
In Egypt on Palm Sunday 2017, twin suicide bombings took place at St George's Church and the Coptic Cathedral of St Mark's killing 47 Christians.
In Nigeria, the slaughter of Christians continues, 120 massacred since February this year. In one attack, eyewitnesses described how their assailants divided into three groups. One group shot and killed people, another set fire to homes as people fled, and a third group shot those fleeing.
Such massacres were of course reported, but, crucially, in a more low key fashion and largely forgotten a day or two after. They did not dominate the news cycle for seven days running.
The question is why?
It is not, I think, the result of some sinister anti Christian conspiracy or a matter of ‘white’ lives mattering more than ‘brown’ lives. Christchurch clearly disproves that. The answer is largely ‘location, location.’ Lives lost in some locations accrue greater significance than lives lost in others.