Monday, November 16, 2015

#PrayForParis: Why Are We Still Talking About Profile Pictures?

Friday Night, on the International Day of Kindness, I hosted a charity event, had a few drinks with friends and then went to a pub. I was happy and filled with gratefulness because I had raised a good amount of money, was surrounded by my very best friends and was celebrating, like my Parisien counterparts, the fact that I am alive on this beautiful planet and able to enjoy this weekend in happiness. When a German friend and I checked the score on the Germany vs France game we then saw there had been a bomb. Appalled, the initial impulse was to get back to our partying, but I decided to browse. The more information I received, the more impossible it was for me to stay at the pub, so I grabbed my stuff and headed to the taxi.

That night, it could have been anyone. I live in a city that is no stranger to bombs, and I've been close to one before that killed a policemen. All my peers are criticizing that I live a dangerous life for that matter, and it turns out that I am still alive, while over 120 completely innocent people in Paris, the birthplace of our Western freedom, are not. And as always when tragedy strikes Europe, or the West, it is a bigger deal than tragedies anywhere else in the world. Facebook is littered with condolences, all news channels fail to broadcast any other news and politicians are speaking of war. Only a day earlier, similar tragedy struck Lebanon, probably part of exactly the same terror series, and those Russian on the plane in Sinai didn't get the same attention either (although they are white, people!). Yet, profile picture changes are only possible now, not in connection to any other human crisis.

There are two kinds of social media posters this weekend: on the one side, there are people posting solitary messages and change their pictures, and then on the other side those who condemn the bias of the media, the hypocrisy of those posting that and those who claim that other atrocities have been forgotten. To the latter I have all but one thing to say: Kindly, please piss off! These critics are not only insensitive since any kind of sympathy is good, even if it's fake, but they are also oblivious to how this world works. Of course it sucks we care more about dead Parisians than Arabs or Kenyans, but this is not because the world disregards people living in the Southern hemisphere, or as most claim "those who are not white enough".

Now I'm not going to be somebody who claims racism doesn't exist but this whole claim of the media, and world leaders and all the "hypocrites" on facebook being biased because those in Lebanon dying were of the wrong race is ridiculous. More white people died in the plane crash, also probably thanks to the same terrorists, and still people don't pray for Russia. Maybe everyone is right and I'm not and people just like the French better than the Syrians, Lebanese or Russians. More likely, however, is that everybody else has missed the fact we're not just mourning people dying, but 15 years of increased security, the defense of liberal views and the illusion of a protected life in our midst being attacked. People outside of the West are quick to understand it as racism, however, it has nothing to do with who actually died, and how many.

It is more ignorant to me that some people seem to not understand that for the WESTERN media an attack on WESTERN soil is of bigger concern than a Kenyan school shooting. I remember the day the Kenyan news broke very well because I was distraught and started crying at work. Since the Western media tends to filter its content it makes perfect sense that they would give more attention to something similar happening in the area they are actually broadcasting or are originating. I have occasionally been upset about what nonsense the media chose to cover over other, more important matters but the media is just another cooperation, usually trying to make dollar. As sad as Kenya and Beirut is it has little effect on the international system and on most people watching. If it was merely about human atrocities every government would be at war with Boko Haram. But I don't hear anyone calling for the US to finally send more troops there to finally kill those murderers. Why? Because it's simply not their problem.

After Paris, ISIS is now France's problem, and since we have a Western cooperation of nations it is now at least the West's concern. If we are still going to pretend we all love the NATO, they the West is soon at war, obviously changing the lives of Westerners quite a bit. Before, I hate to break it to all of the facebook community, it didn't matter, and it's not a state's job to care about people dying, but the survival of itself. You may hate that, but that's how it is. When President Barack Obama doesn't hold a press conference for killed Kenyans that does not mean that the individual Barack Obama is unmoved by the event. Maybe this Christian guy even included them in his prayers, we don't know. His state, however, is completely unaffected by the tragedy, unlike Paris, and therefore we don't hear official words. States and people aren't the same, know the difference!

Now, if you ask me if that is cool or whether I'm happy to live in a world like that I would maybe hesitate. In the last few weeks, however, there's been so many good things happening and I have started to really love this planet. What should be spread is that notion, not the notion of how everything is going to waste. Because, frankly, it's not. We still live in a world where even in fear and mourning Parisians help each other out, where people open their door to refugees fleeing war despite many parts of society shunning them and in which you can sit down, close your door and support those suffering with your positive thoughts and prayers or your profile picture. I don't see any reason to hate on anything more than there already is to hate these days, and really don't understand why everybody's trying so hard... 

No comments:

Post a Comment