By somebody who does not know anybody living in Paris!
Social media like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram have always been sources of immediate reactions to what is happening. There was no exception either in the case of the Paris terrorist attacks. Not just tweets and statuses describing the facts directly from France, but also the wave of solidarity heaved. People worldwide were first scared and seriously thinking about how many friends they have in Paris. It must be said that Facebook helped a lot to assure us by its “safety button” about everybody who we know is OK. The statuses such as “Pray for Paris” or French flags and the Paris symbols found homage in millions of accounts.
- France was on almost every profile.
In the moment of sadness, users of social media, influenced by others, were putting the French flag on their profile pictures, were sharing the pictures of Paris and peace, and could finally reuse their lost pictures from their voyage to Paris a few years ago. Those who never had spoken French were trying to put up their statuses in this romantic language. I DID EXACTLY THE SAME!
- Not Paris, but the world!
However, after some time and millions of “French” posts, people started attacking each other. I personally experienced a few violent messages asking me why I did not cry for Lebanese terrorist attacks. More brave friends had already posted a message called “It is not Paris we should pray for, it is the world,” claiming all the recent terrorist attacks and their violent consequences, including Lebanon, Baghdad, or refugees. Others tweeted about Russian planes and Tunis, Ankara, Kuwait, etc.
- European Parliament commemorating Paris.
Few days after the attack, the European parliament, together with many other European countries, commemorated the victims of Paris. Under the photo displaying Brussels politicians in black clothes, standing probably during a minute of silence, some of the social media users very severely interrogated why the European Parliament did not commemorate the victims of Beirut, Ankara, Baghdad, and so on.
- Feeling of pity or fear?
Talking about my personal experience, I felt sorry for Paris’s victims, but I also felt FEAR. And isn’t this the reason why we watched broadcasted terror from France so carefully? What if it happens to my family or me, my boyfriend, or my own country?
Of course, we were sorry for Paris and the innocent people who lost their lives on Friday 13th, but wouldn’t you be more sorry and horrified if your loved one died?
I would! I would not want to be in the place of those who did not find on Facebook their friends as OK, who on the 14th November woke up and did not find their husbands next to them, who did not find their children in their rooms, or who called their mothers to tell them that everything is well, and the phone rang without an answer. Every human life is linked with others by family or friendship ties, which we could see. At this moment, I cry for those who stayed and are alive and are bearing the loss of their close ones, wherever they are.
- France is near.
The second personal experience that I would like to express about why we were not showing our feelings about Beirut, Baghdad, or Russia. The reason is not that the flag of Lebanon would destroy my profile picture, or I could not write my tweet in Arabic. It is not because I like France more than Russia or because the planes sometimes crash. For the first time in my life, I was scared to be involved in a war. Because it was near to my country, it was close to my world, and it is truly important for me. However, now I feel no fear because I do not want to be scared to live. I am ready to protect, not Paris, not the world, but my family and friends.
- I Cry For…
And eventually, please, do not punish those who upload their profile picture with the flag of France. Please, do not complain about European politicians holding a minute of silence for Paris and not for other attacks. Obviously, they represent the European states, and they are furthermore scared for their own homelands. Please do not crucify me for this article; I just wanted to explain whom I cry for!