I am considered a regular news follower from the peers in my network, and I was one of the first to know about the terrible Paris attacks and I posted about it on facebook. The attacks are definitely uncalled for and knowing Parisians and the city, it was such a sad image to see. However, there are a few negative issues with the craze that is going on on social media right now.
The first problem I found, is that I feel oppressed. ‘Why?’ you might ask. Well, that is because devastating attacks occurred in Iraq and Lebanon, by the same terroris group, but seem to get no attention and sympathy at all. I am an Arab and I feel very bad for Paris, but today I woke up and I felt like I am imprisoned without escape, scared if I share anything to tell people about Iraq and they think that I don’t care about Paris. I entered a vicious cycle of feeling bad. I still do not have a solution, but why is facebook not providing other flags? Why are people not praying for Iraq or Lebanon? Why is there no safety check for people not in a “fancy” city? Why only certain lives matter? (for this question we can argue that because Europeans can relate more with Paris because it is close to them, but facebook is American and everyone was mourning for Paris. From all around the globe, from all the different races, so let us not use the relatibility excuse)
So, all I could come up with is this sad yet true facebook status.
The other issue is many people’s behaviour as social activists. It is fine when people use a hashtag like #prayforparis, and or change their profile pictures but, as we have obviously seen before from such social media campaigns is that these people are social media activists for a week, or less. I cannot name people, but I can tell you that some people already had enough from the flag and changing their pictures back. Solidarity is not a lit building, or a profile picture, solidarity should be a continuos action against terrorism, war is happening everywhere and if we stop that, then attacks like these are not going to happen. I respect the people that went out with candles, but it is weird to see a fun picture with a french flag on it, because you either care or not, and if you follow this for a week and not know what is next, I feel that, this is the problem with social media. Things are viral and cause a lot of controversy, then they are dead and the consequences that follow are huge. Consequences like 28 children dying in Iraq because of a French bomb landing “wrongly”, consequences like new military contracts and possibly another war to come. So, we need to open our eyes and keep updated of worse atrocities that follow such huge global events.
Last but not least is the fact that people do not think of how pollitically this whole thing is going. Obama comes out just after the attacks and calls it an “attack on humanity”, how about the millions of deaths caused by American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?, Then the French President comes out and says “this is an act of war”. This leads to the thought that France is planning to join the top “super powers” along with the United States, Russia and China.
I personally believe that these attacks hit several birds with one stone. Because, now it is legitimate to close the borders against refugees (who are running from the same terrorists too, by the way), strengthen military, and perhaps go to war. The problem gets a lot bigger here because more war means more collateral damage, more civilians dying, except this time there is nowhere to go. This war should stop, and the only way to do it is not to think like this man who tweeted me.
I would like you to think about this. Islam has been bullied a lot for the past 20 years, and I believe this is just the start of a vicious cycle. So, I urge the Muslims first to show the west what your real religion is about, and to westerners, it is time to care about other people too, give the muslims a chance and stop believing everything you get in the media.
I mourn for the world, but I believe it will be a better place soon enough.
Almustafa Mahmoud Khalid