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Paris attacks draw attention to other tragedies as #PrayforWorld gains momentum

Some say prayers for Paris just aren't enough. Many online want the world to also pay attention to two suicide bombings that hit Beirut only days prior to the attacks in Paris.

The online conversation has reached beyond Paris to include bombings in Beirut and Baghdad

Following the attacks in Paris, the hashtag #PrayforWorld became a global trending topic. (Twitter)

After a deadly attack or a major disaster, it's common to see the global community share in a city's or region's pain and shock with an outpouring of posts online .

It was no different on social media following the attacks in Paris, with phrases like "prayers for Paris" or "Peace for Paris" trending around the world.

This time though, many pointed out it wasn't just Paris that needed the goodwill. 

The tag #PrayForWorld was trending worldwide on Twitter on Saturday.

Late Friday night, Indian blogger Karuna Ezara Parikh's posted a poem that seemed to capture an alternative sentiment that was shared by many.

She said, "it is not Paris we should pray for," but rather, "the world."

Parikh's words were shared more than 94,000 times on Facebook with more than 66,000 likes. It was also re-posted thousands of times on Twitter and Instagram.

In a note accompanying the post, she said she was "troubled" to see how little media coverage there was on the bombings in Beirut, the city that her father grew up in.

Two suicide bombers killed 43 people in Beirut and injured 200 others.

She also pointed to recent suicide bombings that took place in Baghdad that received "even less attention" and the plight of Syrian refugees. 

"If you've been following the journeys of the people leaving their homes around the world right now, perhaps you'll understand why the words ‪#‎SyrianRefugeeCrisis ‬are just as devastating as ‪#‎PrayForParis‬," said Parikh.

Like the blogger, many others have been sharing images with reminders of other attacks and tragedies that have taken place.

No surprise

The alternative dialogue that's emerged is no surprise to some — even those caught up in the middle of it.

James Guttridge, grew up in Vancouver and now lives in Paris. 

He was at a bar just a few blocks from the Bataclan concert hall during the deadly hostage-taking.

He was shaken by what had happened but in an interview from his Paris apartment, he wanted to recognize the suffering of others.

"Paris is such a global city that it makes worldwide news but it shouldn't be forgotten that people are being hurt in places like Beirut just a few days ago."

With over a billion users on Facebook, Dr. Richard Smith, a communications professor at SFU, says the platform's massive growth has allowed a surge of alternative voices to be heard.

The timing of the attacks may have also been unique.

Smith says the proximity of what happened in Paris to Beirut and Baghdad "raised the possibility" it wouldn't be seen as an isolated incident.

"Often some sort of a terrorist attack or even natural disaster is not contextualized ... but here timing and people's efforts have tried to connect it to other things," said Smith. "Social networks are really good for allowing people to share that kind of information."

With Internet being almost ubiquitous, Smith reminds us we truly are more connected than ever. 

He says the old adage of six degrees of separation are "more like three hops" with social media.

"Almost in any country, your Facebook friends aren't just the little group nearby you, there are people from all over the world."