My Facebook profile picture does not have a French flag overlay on it, but it has also never had a rainbow overlay, or a pink “I stand with Planed Parenthood” overlay. It’s never had any of these things, because I personally don’t feel inclined to use them to show my solidarity. The overlay is a way of showing other people a personal stance, but I know I already do that through my actions and words. Posting an overlay is an easy form of passive protest, and personally it’s not my style.
For a lot of people putting the French flag overlay on their profile picture has been a big issue of contention because Facebook didn’t offer the option for a number of other attacks that took place around the world; but I think that people are missing something in their arguments.
To all of the people posting that Facebook never gave the option of the Kenyan flag or the Lebanese flag, the Nigerian flag, or even the Syrian flag, answer this question. What did you yourself do when these attacks happened? What was your concerted effort towards recognizing the attacks in those places?
I’ve seen everyone reposting articles from April about attacks in Kenya that claimed so many lives, but why are you choosing now, in November, after the Paris attack, to post about it? Did you post about it when it happened? Did you mourn or get angry when you found out about it?
What was your concerted effort towards recognizing the attacks in those places?
If you’re argument is that you didn’t know about it because the news didn’t publicize it, you should check yourself, because if you’re posting them now then there were some news articles about it, but you chose not to seek it out.
See we already know that Western media is not designed to shed light on events that they don’t feel directly affect them in some way. On occasion they will find a way to champion a foreign tragedy into a cause of theirs, (read, Boko Haram) but for the most part they are unaffected by the everyday bloodshed and attacks that some non-Western cultures often endure.
Knowing this, but feeling that these tragedies are important, it is up to you as an individual to educate yourself and even further help the visibility of these issues by spreading the word.
You have every right to be upset that the mass attacks in other countries that happen even more frequently were not covered or given the type of attention that Paris was. You have every right to be upset that Facebook didn’t invest itself in their pain. What you don’t have the right to do is invalidate the loss of ANYONE’s life.
Western media is not designed to shed light on events that they don’t feel directly affect them in some way
The lives lost in France were not more important than those lost in Kenya, or Syria, or Lebanon nor are those lives are more important than France.
By choosing to right now selectively mourn certain lives lost over others you’re perpetuating the same thing Western media is. You are saying, I’m not mourning those lives because they are not as important to me, as relevant, as worthy as the lives lost in other places.
Paris is a tragedy, period. Kenya is a tragedy. Syria is a tragedy. Lebanon is a tragedy. You cannot put a ‘but’ after any of those sentences because they are all equally tragic and in order to properly mourn one you have to equally mourn all.
To help make sure that every tragedy is properly recognized, don’t wait until a tragedy happens to take action. Be active in knowing what is going on outside of your world and be vocal about letting everyone know.