People talk about Paris a little more because
1) The Eiffel Tower is there. Many people dream about going to Paris (it’s in the bucket list) and people who have been to Paris want to be connected to Paris.
2) Paris not a place you would normally associate with attacks like those which happened. So it’s shocking. And shocking makes news.
3) People like to share things which are shocking on social media, giving the appearance that more people care about Paris than anything else.
All these reasons mean that Paris gets more coverage on that given day and week and probably month than anything else. But it does not mean that the attacks on Paris were any more significant than anything that happened that day or week or month or year.
It just means that all three criteria were met.
So don’t be mad
The world is a little shocked, a little biased, but all hope is not lost.
There is still you.
The sooner you understand that publicity is not equivalent to importance, the sooner you can get to doing the real work that will make a difference in the cause that you support.
Sure, publicity helps, but it is not everything. There are still many battles to be fought in wars that we keep losing in.
These include the high mortality of children in countries where clean water is scarce. I don’t know if there are enough people spending time doing the work there. I know I’m not.
Even in cities there is a quiet death that does not have the appearance of death but has every characteristic of which.
I have a small suspicion that part of the big terrors we see in this world are seeded by these small deaths, happening in tandem.
No two deaths are equal and neither is more important than the other. Every death feels important, at a minimum to the people who knew the person. The more people who know a person the louder the mourning.
But amplitude is not the final measure of significance.
Many mothers have died quiets deaths, even the mothers who nurtured presidents, secretaries of states and CEOs. But we cannot say their deaths were insignificant because there is no hashtag dedicated to them.
You don’t need 100million or 1 billion people
to know about your cause to make a difference. It could be just you and your friends. Or you and a friend.
If you feel strongly about something, you can do something about it. Even if it’s a small thing.
One person – a person who is willing to be more than a face in the crowd – is more likely to make a difference than 100,000 people who are unsure about their stance.
Do you know Lek Chailert?
In 2013 I met Lek Chailert, an animal activist who changed the way elephants are treated in Thailand. When she started, probably only a handful of people cared about Elephants. Now, thousands of people volunteer their time to care for elephants at her centre.
Through her foundation and her deep interest in the welfare of elephants I learned that I should not pay for elephant rides.
I didn’t know it before Lek told me.
Before Lek too, thousands of elephants quietly went crazy training to be entertainers every year. Now many are saved.
It just takes one person.