“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
It has been a week since the attacks in Paris, and I have spent the past seven days thinking about what happened. In fact it has been topic of conversation everywhere: in my Anthropology classes, every single news channel and of course, across all my social media feeds. And I’ll be honest, not all of this coverage has been positive or supportive of France, especially in regard to the recognition that Paris has received.
Following the horrific attacks across Paris last Friday night, Facebook became flooded with the French flag, iconic global landmarks lit up in blue, white and red, and the world, hand in hand, showed solidarity. #PrayForParis trended across twitter whilst the likes of Amazon and Youtube wore a French flag in their logo. The world felt united, well at least that was the general feeling across the UK.
However, this symbol of solidarity quickly turned into a debate of ‘favouritism’ with many people choosing not to represent the french flag over their profile picture, post The Peace for Paris image or even share links of remembrance. Many claimed that the Western media was emphasising Paris and ignoring crises that are happening globally every single day. I have a different view on this, which is okay as well are all entitled to an opinion.
I agree that the media has reported more on the Paris stories than other events in the world. But, I believe that there is a reason for this and it is because our media posts what we want to see, read and share; it creates content based on an audience. France is a ‘sister country’ to England, as well as for the rest of Europe. Paris, in particular, is relatable, identifiable and a place in which many of us will have visited. Therefore, attacks in Paris are a major concern to us here in the UK and it is perfectly understandable of us to take on the emotional burden of that.
Okay, you and I both know that horrendous things happen internationally every single day, such as the recent attacks in Lebanon, Iraq and Mali. And I totally agree with everyone on that these events are often not reported enough. Facebook doesn’t magically produce a flag filter, Twitter doesn’t suddenly trend a worldwide bid for peace and companies don’t just change their logo to show support every single time someone is brutally killed or attacked. That just doesn’t happen.
In my opinion, the support and solidarity felt towards Paris is being highlighted as it is close to home, especially for me living in London, which is just two hours from the French city. But this media attention shouldn’t be considered a bad thing, it is perhaps a step in the right direction. As by talking about Paris, people are becoming more and more concerned with the issue of terrorism. This, at the same time, is raising awareness of brutality, torture and torment globally. This means that we are moving towards a wider understanding of these atrocities, as well as recognition. Of course, it would be unreasonable for us to take on the emotional responsibility of every irrational attack, in fact, we wouldn’t be able to get up in the morning. However, we should be recognising that this is happening and, as a country, we should be attempting to prevent this from happening again.
I don’t have a solution to this and at the same time I don’t want to live in fear or constant worry. Although, I do hope that one day we will live in a peaceful world full of equality and happiness.
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