This will likely be the article no one will want to read.
It is going to be the viewpoint that challenges the media and public orthodoxy surrounding the Paris attacks. This article challenges the current state of our world.
A world where world leaders openly denounce the Paris attacks, but barely utter a word over the Beirut bombings only the day beforehand.
A world where we can change our Facebook profile pictures to an overlay of the French flag to support the Paris victims, but where it is impossible to adopt a Lebanese flag to show support to the Beirut victims.
A world where national landmarks are illuminated in the colours of the French flag, as though they are the only victims of terrorism. Even our affable neighbour, Australia, seemed to forget that there are three times as many Lebanese Australians as there are French Australians in their country. Yet the Sydney Opera House displayed only the French colours, and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made no mention of the Beirut bombings when condemning the Paris attacks.
The media sensationalism surrounding the Paris attacks, however, is only symptomatic of a far greater problem. In an era where journalism is driven by the consumer culture, stories become more about sales and hits than about truth and impartiality.
There is no denying that stories about primarily white victims in the so-called City of Love is going to generate a lot of interest. News outlets exploit this reality, adapting to the preferences of consumers. However, I view the phenomenon of media sensationalism as a circular issue. On the one hand, you have media outlets pandering to the preferences of the general populace, who crave certain kinds of stories. On the other hand, this excessive focus also fuels and shapes the public's preference. The result is a never-ending cycle, whereby the media simultaneously panders to the public's desires, and influences their future news preference.
It is therefore unfair to place the blame squarely on the mainstream media. A portion of the blame rests with the majority who care only about fellow 'Western' compatriots. This view, whether held consciously or unconsciously, is the belief that white lives matter more. It is the tragically imbued instinct that 'Western' victims are worthy of more media attention.
The issues I have highlighted so far cut to the core of political philosophy. Within political theory, there are two main accounts of global justice: the statist or nationalist view, and the cosmopolitan one.
In very simple terms, the nationalist account argues that belonging to a state is a morally relevant criterion, while cosmopolitanism rejects states, citizenship and race as factors we should take into account for discharging our global obligations.
In my view, the cosmopolitan account is undeniably the account of global justice that we should adopt. The cosmopolitan account simply states that the ultimate unit of moral consideration is the human being, as opposed to the 'nation state'. We should give equal consideration to the interests of every person, regardless of proximity, citizenship, ethnicity, and other morally irrelevant features.
The equal consideration of interests does not suggest that we treat everybody equally and identically. Rather, it compels us to treat non-compatriots with equal need as we would compatriots in the same position. Until the odious and repugnant doctrine of nationalism is rejected in its entirety, we will continue to value American victims over Syrian ones, and continue to care more about atrocities committed against the 'West'.
Adopting a cosmopolitan view of global justice will compel us to treat a Syrian victim and an American victim equally. It will compel us to treat the massacre of a theatre in Somalia with as much grief and sadness as the bombing of a theatre in Paris.
Arbitrarily erected national borders and artificial "East-West" divisions ought not limit our humanity and compassion to others. Absolutely, we should weep for the victims of the Paris attacks. But no more than we should for those injured and killed in Beirut the day before, and no more than the scores of innocents massacred daily in Syria, Libya, Lebanon, and around the world, every single day.
Let us stand in solidarity. Not with Paris, not with the West, but with the world.
Johann Go is a student of public health and philosophy at the University of Auckland.