Original Articles

Patrick Cockburn: If all right-thinking people are united against terrorism, where are the ‘Je suis Nigeria’ banners?

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By far the worst atrocity committed this year by an extreme Islamist movement was the slaughter of more than 2,000 people last week by Boko Haram in north-eastern Nigeria. Satellite images publicised by Amnesty International show two towns, Baga and Doron Baga, completely devastated, with 3,700 structures damaged or destroyed.

This massacre got limited coverage in the media until after the furore over events in Paris peaked, though the killers in Nigeria and France had very similar beliefs and methods of operating (i.e., Salafism and Deobandism). But mark the difference in the international response to these two atrocities. My friend and former colleague Richard Dowden, director of the Royal African Society, has written that, if all right-thinking people are united against terrorism, “where is the ‘Je suis Nigeria’ movement?”