Will we go to war? Well all this violence and hate create discord. Religious, politically and racially motivate attacks look like war and sound like war. But is it war? The world has changed. Politicians do not want to declare war. Maybe they don't know what war looks like anymore. War used to be clear. Soldiers were men and boys who fought on a battlefield. Since Hiroshima, Desert Storm and 9-11, not to mention drones, there seem to be no boundaries or rules to the game of war.
I am not sure Americans can adjust to the idea of child soldiers and suicide bombers. While paradoxically we have the highest rates of children being killed by guns, there is still something so chilling about the idea of strapping bombs to children and teaching them to blow themselves up. In traditional war, at least parents sent their children off with a hope of survival. Americans are big on Hope.
As for the feeling of Kenya vs. Lebanon Vs. France, I feel similar to those who claim that the "world" responses are not equal. I think culturally, western people feel akin to France- as it is part of the Western world. Americans have more of a relationship with France- or at least powerful Americans and also politically we are "allies."
As Kenya is not a political player in the “first” world, when they are bombed/or in the case of the school shooting, there is a question of whether we should do something about it; whereas with France there is a feeling that we must do something or we are “obligated" so that is more frightening, as it is closer to home.
Also, there is the whole issue of the black body. And the question of whether or not black lives matter to the greater global community.
With Lebanon, it is completely different. I think since Lebanon and Israel do not have good relations- even though Lebanon supports the US, I think we like to preserve an ambiguous relationship to any country that has Muslim affiliation; thus, it is religion affiliation and proximity to Israel that colors western opinion, causes the media to stay away, and ultimately result in raising less sympathy for the people of Lebanon. So I think that is the media stance. Kenya and Lebanon do not have media power like the US. This is another huge factor. Power and politics determine what stories are told. How can there be public outcry when no one knows about it? Probably more Kenyans know about France than Kenya.
Most people don’t read the news, so unless the media latches onto it, no one will know or care.
That is the real problem, Media, Power, Politics.
I think that when you juxtapose Paris to Kenya, the tragedies are closer in numbers... But the Paris attack showed a more complex strategy (many venues at once-etc) so again, the randomness and proximity of the strikes a different kind of fear. Americans are both numb to and in denial of school shootings. In a way, we have passively come to accept them as part of life. America’s school shooters are our suicide bombers, but we do not take responsibility for them as in our core, we believe in individualism so we continue the narrative that it is an individual problem, not a societal problem. So in Kenya, I believe even setting played a factor in how it was perceived, it was a school shooting and in terms of the severity and cruelty of school shootings (and apathy) America is in the forefront.
I know I say we (Americans) because being here, I know I am one. I don't agree with most of what I said, but I cannot claim not to be benefiting from the privileges wrought by some of these atrocities. This is complicated and it makes me sad.
So that is what I think.