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One simple chart helps explain why the world took France’s tragedy harder than most

Tourists use a selfie stick on the Trocadero Square, with the Eiffel Tower in background, in Paris, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. Selfie sticks have become enormously popular among tourists because you don’t have to ask strangers to take your picture, and unlike hand-held selfies, you can capture a wider view without showing your arm. But some people find selfie sticks obnoxious, arguing that they detract from the travel experience. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)
AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere
Been there, loved that.
By Frida Garza
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

When 128 people were killed in terrorist attacks in Paris, millions of people around the world were shaken in a way they simply had not been the day before, when a terrorist attack in Beirut left 43 people dead and more than 200 injured.

What happened in Beirut wasn’t the only example of a tragedy that went largely unnoticed—in the days after the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, news organizations, human rights groups, and everyday social media users widely shared a statistic that said the equivalent of one Paris attack has happened every day in Syria for the last five years.

This chart might help explain some of the world’s apparent compassion gap.

France is by far the most popular international tourist destination, receiving about 84 million visitors from abroad every year, according to the World Tourism Organization. That’s almost 10 million more than the US, the next most popular country for international tourists.

Even the briefest of trips can give travelers a sense of personal connection to the countries they’ve visited. And as Quartz’s Bobby Ghosh recently pointed out, having that connection is a perfectly reasonable argument for caring more about some places than others.

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