This past Friday, there were devastating ISIL attacks on the city of Paris, and how did I find out about it? This little blue button on my phone, that leads me to the knowledge of all happenings and goings on in the world. Facebook brings a wider dimension of awareness, while also providing an opportunity to talk about issues and events with millions of our closest friends. However, since the attacks, I have realized that Western people evidently don’t understand what is truly going on, because their participation in the issue has resulted in social media tactics like changing a profile picture or using a hashtag. *Eye roll*.
I was at work when the attacks took place and hadn’t a moment to observe this activity. But, as the minutes went on, the expression of support grew through “#prayforparis” statuses, profile pictures of the Eiffel tower and an outcry of support for the City of Love. It was heartening to see such support in this time of tragedy but how much impact does a Facebook status have? People have lost their lives, friends and family. People have witnessed death, held dying children in their arms and we in Canada think that one Facebook status update or the France flag filtered over our profile pictures, will be a sign of “support.” There is a disconnect between what is going on and what we consciously appreciate. We have a lack of understanding of the reality of the attack and our understanding of this political and social warfare fails to appreciate the horror of the situation. You know what support would be? Attending the memorial that was held for victims in Paris and a recent attack in Lebanon (which has received little reaction) on Monday at La Cite Francophone a French cultural centre off Whyte Avenue.
Gravity of event understood?
Yes, changing your profile picture is designed to be a sign of awareness and it opens a door to conversation but I hope that these individuals know what exactly took place that Friday afternoon and truly understand the gravity of this awful event. I get it that we face pressure in our society to fit in and to also seem well informed but you won’t see me trying to prove that on my Facebook profile. In these times of worldwide strain, there is no amount of Facebook statuses that will ever be enough to change or help anyone that is going through this. Did you even read the entire story or is it just an attempt to prove that you are aware and want to be involved in something?
What’s even more unfortunate than the sheep-like behaviour on social media is the absolute ignorance shown about the plight of the Syrian refugees by the people we call our friends and colleagues. I happened to see a picture of the Canadian flag posted by one of my close friends with “FU** OFF, WE’RE FULL” written on it. Two things shocked me; the fact that someone took the time to make the picture and the fact that my friend actually thought it was appropriate or necessary to share on her wall. I get that in a very short time, there will be many people allowed into our country to try and live a normal life, but there will be screening done and these fear-mongering individuals are doing exactly what ISIL wants them to do. There is a reason the word terror is in the word terrorist. ISIL wants people to fear them, which is why people need to stop saying things like “keep our country safe, don’t let the refugees in” behind the confines of their Facebook profile pages. Another thing that upsets me about those who oppose accepting the Syrian refugees, is that their reaction is to “help our own first.” This is racist, bigoted, and small-minded and should not be so widely accepted. Get off your computer and go educate yourself!
There is a fine line at work in social media and I am seeing it crossed every minute of every day. Let’s get back to the ideas, light humour, memories and career advancement opportunities and leave the politics for the politicians.
Editor in Chief