Like everyone else, I’ve been reading about Paris.
There is an avalanche of comment and analysis in the media. Every angle under the sun is aired. How it’s all the Muslims fault. The Jews. It’s all the Christians fault, the Flying Spaghetti Monster – whatever, all of it nonsense. There is a lot argy bargy – and I don’t want to go into any of that here (suffice to say I think it has bugger all to do with religion and everything with power, politics and alienation, but none of that is the point here).
There is this one thing really, really bugs me.
Like everyone else, I read the stories of what happened.
Like everyone else, I read the harrowing accounts by those young people in the Bataclan, those lucky enough to survive and give us eye-witness accounts.
Like everyone else, I have seen the newspaper articles listing the dead and recounting their lives, how they were loved, cherished young people who were having well deserved fun night out so cruelly cut in a short few senseless violent moments.
Yet something is missing, and my unease about it is growing. Surely I can’t the only one who is noticing the missing people?
I read and read, and read some more. I do google searches. I can't find the wheelies.
They are being killed twice.
You see, eye-witnesses describe how the terrorists walked into the Bataclan and calmly started shooting. Their first victims were a group of wheelchair users who were at the concert.
Being blunt, I guess from a tactical point of view that makes sense. If you want to kill as many people as possible, these guys are literally easy targets. There may be deeper psychological reasons too – less valued and therefore first to kill, or more valued and to be spared suffering or some warped thinking, I don’t know, and at the end of the day I really don’t care. These criminals have disgusting minds I am not overly interested in exploring.
Fact is, the first victims were the disabled.
Fact is also, there is a thunderous silence about this in the media.
We read about the young just married couple. The nice guy who sold the band’s merchandise and died in a friend’s arms. The promising young lawyer.
There is no doubt this is beyond horrifying and I have indeed stopped reading it because I just cant take that much sadness at the moment.
But at least their lives were acknowledged.
Their deaths were acknowledged.
What about the wheelchair users?
Where are they? Who were they?
I cannot find their stories in the media.
Do we not need to acknowledge their lives? Their deaths? They too were young people out on a well deserved night of fun. They too were loved and cherished and are mourned and missed.
By not mentioning them, it’s like they have been killed twice.
The media does not seem to find their lives worth mentioning, worth listing. The disabled in this story have been ignored, discarded, forgotten. Airbrushed out of existence. Both deliberately by the terrorists, and probably not deliberately by the media, who has cast their lives and stories aside as unworthy, uninteresting.
I am not expecting much from terrorists.
Guess it was silly of me to expect more from the media.