The triple bombing in Brussels on Tuesday which has claimed more than 30 lives is just the latest in a series of deadly terrorist attacks carried out around the world so far this month.
After a similar, multi-target attack in Paris last November which left more than 100 people dead in restaurants and concert halls, some began to ask why the media offered such focused coverage of France and not Lebanon. Just a day before havoc exploded onto Parisian streets, a double suicide attack had killed more than 40 people in a bustling part of Beirut.
For many, the asymmetric coverage pointed to an “empathy gap.” Since such violence is more common in the Middle East than in Europe, the news out of Beirut didn’t rise above the white noise of war and conflict in the region, even though it’s seen relative calm for years.
Experts consulted by ThinkProgress explained that Americans do feel more empathetic to people in France, for instance, than Lebanon, do to a perceived similarity between themselves and fellow Westerners.
“You could argue that since the attack the attack in Beirut was in the Middle East, and the Middle East is culturally and religiously distinct from the West — or the U.S. and Paris is more similar to the U.S. because it’s more Christian and white, basically, or Caucasian — we sort of associate them with being in the same larger group with the majority of Americans,” James Igoe Walsh, a professor who studies the relationship between terrorism and the media at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, told ThinkProgress back in November.
“We have a lot of nasty tendencies in our brains,” said Emile Bruneau, a cognitive neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who does research on human empathy. “It doesn’t mean that we condone them.”
As part of an effort to disrupt those “nasty” tendencies, here is a list of several other deadly attacks that took place before Brussels was brought to a halt by an attacked claimed by the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS.
CREDIT: AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici
A suicide bombing shook a popular shopping area in Istanbul on Saturday, and left four people dead. The attack was attributed to a member of ISIS. It was the second terrorist attack in Turkey this month.
Last week, a car bomb exploded in the heart of the Turkish capital. Thirty-six people were killed in the attack, which was claimed by the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks, a terror group linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party.
“Turkey has become a target of terror attacks due to the instabilities in the region,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement following the attack. “Terror attacks – which intend to target the integrity of Turkey, unity and solidarity of our people – do not diminish our will to fight against terror, but further boost it.”
CREDIT: AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad
Peshawar, a restive city in northern Pakistan, was struck by a bomb last Thursday, which killed 16 people and injured dozens more. The bomb destroyed a bus that carried government employees in front on a busy thoroughfare. No group claimed responsibility for the carnage.
An attack at a school in Peshawar left more than 140 students, teachers, and staff members dead in December 2014. The overall number of attacks in Pakistan has declined since then, as the military began a concerted campaign against terrorist cells. Still some extremely deadly incidents such as the car bombing earlier this month have continued to shake the country.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif renewed his commitment to stopping terrorist attacks following this month’s bombing in Peshawar.
“These cowardly attacks cannot shatter our unflinching resolve against terrorism,” he said.
CREDIT: AP Photo
Twenty-four people were killed and more than a dozen wounded when two suicide bombers detonated explosives in a mosque in Maiduguri, Nigeria last week.
Such attacks have become increasingly common in northeastern Nigeria, which has long been terrorized by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. As in this instance, the group appears to be using female suicide bombers more and more frequently.
As ThinkProgress has reported, Boko Haram is the deadliest terrorist group in the world.