(CBS) — The terrorist attack in Paris galvanized the world and sparked overwhelming sympathy. But the reaction to a massacre in Nigeria at the same time has been much different, even though many more people died there.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports Chicagoans and others are asking why?
The news coverage was non-stop when terrorists killed 17 in Paris and massive vigils were held around the world.
“17 people died, 1.5 million people march,” said Boyede Sobita with the Nigerian American Professional Association. “2,000 people died and it’s a blip on a radar.”
A blip on the radar says Boyede Sobita: the response to the group Boko Haram killing 2,000 people last week in Nigeria, Sobita’s parents’ native country.
“The fact that we can allow this to happen without bringing the necessary attention to the people who are suffering is sad,” Sobita said.
Experts explain the different responses this way: France is a close ally of the United States, the murders were seen an attack on free speech and linked to terrorist groups that threaten much of the world.
Nigerian-American Chime Asonye says Nigeria’s government itself underplayed the violence there.
“If leadership does not shine a light and say this is an issue the world should turn its attention to, then people are not going to follow suit,” Asonye said.
“Boko Harum has been ravaging Nigeria for the last five to six years, so the daily announcements of violence become numbing,” said Sobita.
Still, Nigerian Americans in Chicago insist no violence should be ignored.
“From a human standpoint, tyranny anywhere is an attack on freedom everywhere,” said Sobita.
The Nigerian-American Young Professionals group plans to hold vigils to call attention to the massacre and the threat posed by Boko Harum. They note that while the president of Nigeria sent condolences to France, he’s said little about murders of 2,000 people in his own country.