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Tragedies that Went under the Radar

Shutterstock.com / Andrey VP

Tragedies that Went under the Radar

In recent days, the world's eyes have turned to Paris as its people weather horrific tragedy: In a series of terrorist attacks Friday, Nov. 13, 129 people were killed and hundreds more injured. Chaos reigned in the city as venues including a concert hall, a sports stadium and restaurants were attacked by bombers and gunmen. As the city remains in a state of emergency, citizens of the world have responded with an outpouring of support for the people of France.

But Paris isn't the only site of tragedies this week. The horrors that happened Friday caught our attention because such things are rare in the City of Light, but around the world, others have suffered in incidents just as heartbreaking and senseless. While we remember the lives lost in Paris, we also take the time to remember victims of these other attacks.

Beirut: On Thursday, Nov. 12, a pair of suicide bombings rocked Beirut, leaving 43 dead and more than 200 wounded. The capital city of Lebanon, Beirut is no stranger to violence, with recent car bombings fresh in residents' memories. Indeed, the region sees daily violence, and Beirut is a temporary home to refugees from all over the Middle East who have escaped terrible situations in their home countries. This week's loss of dozens of lives brought chaos and heartbreak to an already-strained city. The city of Beirut was observing a national day of mourning when Friday's attacks in Paris took place, and as they saw social media light up with messages of support to Paris, the city's people felt forgotten by an international media that quickly swung its attention away from Beirut's losses.

Niger: Tens of thousands in central and western Africa have been killed by the extremist group Boko Haram in the last six years. Tens of thousands more have been displaced by Boko Haram's actions. It's a figure that can make the most recent murder of five people seem like a drop in the bucket, barely worth notice, when we should really be looking at it from the opposite perspective: Five more deaths make the awful death toll that much more tragic. The five who died Thursday, Nov. 12, were repelling a raid by Boko Haram on a small village, and the fighting force successfully repelled the attackers.

Baghdad: As we were glued to the news coming from Paris, at least 26 were killed in two attacks in Baghdad Friday, Nov. 13. Twenty-one of the dead were stuck down while attending a funeral, victims of a suicide bomber. The second attack, a roadside bomb at a Shiite shrine, killed at least five more. Dozens were wounded in the attacks, which came among regular, almost daily, attacks in a city in conflict.

When we go beyond the news of this week, we see still more similar deaths: 224 dead in the bombing of a Russian jet in October, 147 in a terrorist attack on a college in Kenya in April. When we do discuss these tragedies, the focus is often on the terrorists who perpetrated the awful deeds. Today, we're setting that aside to remember the many hundreds who died in these attacks – wherever they're from, all over the world.