The “Rest of the World”

Last week has witnessed once more horrible terror attacks.


What happened in Paris is deeply shocking and saddening, and I want to express my condolence to the families and friends of the 17 victims.

Though, while the world's media still focus on polemics about freedom of speech vs. islamophobia vs. anti-Semitism, more than 2000 people perished under Boko Haram-fire in Nigeria. Why is there nobody to claim #JeSuisBaga and #JeSuisMaiduguri?

While the world's media still focus on polemics about freedom of speech vs. islamophobia vs. anti-Semitism, a double suicide bombing attack in northern Lebanon killed at least 7 persons and injured 36 more. Why is there nobody to claim #AnaTripoli? Why does the annihilation of fair skinned European lives get all the attention, while the annihilation of dark skinned African and olive skinned Phoenician lives is kept under silence?

So, I'll add all people affected in my thoughts. Yes, what happened in Paris is horrible, but what I find way more shocking, is that exclusivity, that elitism, presenting these attacks as something worth talking about for days, probably weeks, while passing over similar attacks that claimed an awful lot of human lives more during the same time. I am not saying we shall not talk about it, on the contrary, I think it is very important to discuss what had happened and why... and it is very important to put ourselves into question.

I feel truly sad about all these lives sacrificed for the sake of power and greed. But I also feel burning anger. About extremisms of every colour fuelling each other until it comes to the catastrophe. Most of all, I feel angry about that elitism I perceive among white rich privileged people, to which I belong too. And I sometimes feel bad about that, but I'll come back to that later. Let us first talk of what I will call not white privilege, but white elitism. White elitism that claims fundamental human rights, but shoots dead the suspected terrorists. They were not white and European and Christian enough to get a fair trial. Is there proof the three men killed actually were the ones committing these inhuman crimes? Is shooting them dead not mostly an easy and quick way of settling an uncomfortable situation? Yes, I even dare say I feel sorry for them, because in a state of rights, even the worst criminal deserves a fair trial.

White elitism is also what justifies offending over 1.6 billions Muslims in the name of freedom of speech, but prohibits public demonstrations in support of Gaza while it was carpet bombed by Israel last summer. White elitism ignores the suffering of the "rest of the world" as long as it cannot make profit of it. Colonialist mentality, pretending our way is the only right one, and we have to impose it to everybody, exploiting wide parts of this "rest of the world" and thus contributing to its misery.

I do now live in Africa, working with people mostly coming from this "rest of the world", and I sometimes feel bad saying I come from France - the colonial power, that often left misery and chaos behind, that refuses to take responsibility and to settle the mess it created, but still wants to interfere whenever it chooses to.

Sometimes I feel bad saying I come from Switzerland - the siege of so many multinational companies so amazingly creative when it comes to find ways to make big money on behalf of who has no means to claim their rights. The place where countless dictators, who facilitate these practices, store their precccccciousssssssssssss of treasures stolen from the people they oppress, unpunished.

Sometimes I feel bad saying I come from Europe - I can travel wherever I am, mostly without a problem, but you guys, you cannot. Because your skin is not the right colour, because your beliefs or your social and economic status will not please the Masters of visa. And well... you know... I would be so happy to have you for a visit... you know... I would love to travel around and show you how beautiful our mountains are... but... you know... I fear you will not feel very welcome in my country...

I feel bad because whatever place in the world I have been to, I never have experienced discrimination due to my origins or lack of religion - ok, save for one place, you know what I am talking about - while I do not feel comfortable inviting my friends from the "rest of the world" to my place, because I cannot be sure they will be fine there, provided they are allowed in.

And the more I get around the more I am disgusted by white elitism. How can we pretend our way of dealing with things is the only right one? How can we pretend to impose it on others? Be sure I do very highly appreciate the freedom I enjoy as a white western woman, and I would never want to give them up. NEVER. So never have I had to renounce on things that are really important to me. What I did is adapting to local culture and laws, but that I call respect for my host.

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