The last two days saw the world stand up in solidarity against the horrific Paris attacks. Protests and candle-light vigils ensued across the world, with the backdrop of iconic monuments lit up in the colours of the French flag.
Several thousands on Facebook draped the colours of the French flag on their profile pictures to stand tall against the terrible attacks on Paris. They openly condemned the attacks and made proclamations to the tune of “We are Paris”.
But there were several others to slam them around for their choice on supporting just Paris, when in fact Beirut and Baghdad had seen terrible violence just a few days before. ‘Why just Paris? Why not Beirut? Are their lives any less important?’
So naturally, there were knee-jerk reactions all over, with people posting pictures of “Peace in Beirut” along with “Nous Somme Paris”.
Social media has given a brand new meaning to armchair activism, People want to follow and be part of a trending hashtag so desperately that they don’t lose a moment to #expresshate #makeashallowcomment #hopesomeonewillreadit.
It’s a thing you must do in between checking Facebook updates and applying a filter on that Instagram shot of that sunset you just clicked.
And you don’t really think too much about what you’re supporting as long as its popular and someone you follow is supporting it too. And while it is an expression of solidarity, its rather become a case of the blind following the blind and is polarising the world to create very distinct images of victims and terrorists.
Now I know Paris is far more loved than Beirut for most people, including me. And I’m truly sad at this terrible, meaningless loss of life and normalcy. But does that make the loss of lives in conflict zones any less profile picture worthy?
Or are we just so used to news of death from such places, that it doesn’t matter anymore?