On Sunday, at least 50 Nigerians attending a Catholic mass in the country’s southwest were gunned down in a bloody massacre, according to Reuters.
Women and children were among the slain at St Francis Catholic Church in the town of Owo. Many more were injured during the shooting.
Police are still investigating who is responsible for the attack. Reuters provided a clue, reporting that “Nigeria is battling an Islamist insurgency in the northeast and armed gangs who carry out attacks and kidnappings for ransom, mostly in the northwest.”
To their credit, many legacy media outlets have covered the story, though certainly not with the fervour reserved for an American mass shooting.
Notably silent is Black Lives Matter, that noble activist outfit that once vowed to “work vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people” in its now-deleted What We Believe statement.
“We see ourselves as part of the global Black family, and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black people who exist in different parts of the world,” the statement read.
“We are guided by the fact that all Black lives matter, regardless of … economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status, or location,” the BLM creed opined.
Where is Black Lives Matter when it matters? One could hardly imagine a community more deserving of BLM’s much-touted empathy than Nigeria’s Catholics. They certainly fit both the “minority” and “Black” monikers.
To borrow another BLM catchphrase, Christians in Nigeria are without doubt Black lives that are being “systematically and intentionally targeted for demise” — a demise that has been taking place for well over a decade.
News of the Nigerian massacre emerged at the same time as a new CDC data drop revealing that guns have overtaken motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death among U.S. children.
“BLM is silent on the top killer of black kids,” the New York Post announced in an article parsing the CDC data.
Most of these deaths did not take place in mass shootings, the Post clarifies. Rather, the data reflects a rising tide of gang violence and other crime disproportionately occurring in African American communities, especially since the George Floyd race riots.
According to the Post, Black youth were killed at 11 times the rate of white youth in 2020, overwhelmingly at the hands of other African Americans. Moreover, “Blacks between the ages of 14 and 17 commit gun homicide at more than 10 times the rate of white and Hispanic teenagers combined.”
“Virtually none of those black deaths was protested by Black Lives Matter activists,” the Post lamented. Why? For a very simple reason: they “did nothing to advance the narrative about lethal white supremacy”.
Here we find the common denominator between Black Lives Matter’s silence on both the Nigerian massacre and American gun violence. If white people can’t be blamed for their deaths, Black lives apparently don’t matter.
It turns out that resentment is a poor basis for justice. On either side of the Atlantic, lives matter not because they are Black, nor only if their predators are White.
They matter — they are inestimably precious — because they are made in the image of God. On this foundation can justice be pursued, and life have ultimate meaning.
What comfort that Owo’s slain knew it.