Sunday, November 15, 2015

Oh, Paris.





To the sanctimonious faultfinders on my timelines who would deny me the right to be outraged by the Paris massacres on the grounds that I am not equally outraged by recent massacres in the Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Kenya: by all means go ahead and refuse to change your own profile picture — nobody cares, really, it's only a tiny gesture of solidarity — but please don't lecture me on how I didn't know about the atrocities elsewhere (I did), on how I have been manipulated by the media (I haven't) and how I have no right to be outraged by Paris because I didn't care about the deaths elsewhere (I did). By all means draw our attention to other tragedies, but spare us the conclusion that if we can't treat them all equally we shouldn't lament any of them. It is a natural and human reaction to be affected most acutely by the tragedies closest to us; the tragedies that we might actually be able to do something about. And if you deny that, if rather than express any compassion of your own, you prefer to assert your own superior blanket outrage by condemning the apparent hypocrisy in my more calibrated reaction, then you my Facebook friend are not the person I took you for. 
Peace.

10 comments:

Lucy said...

Thank you thank you thank you and amen.

Roderick Robinson said...

In short we are fallible: we respond best to that which we understand best. Is that such a crime?

Tom said...

I too must thank you for this. I am always deeply suspicious of "grief" expressed publicly, because it seems to be the "done thing." "Put on" emotions! The logical extension of the view that we must "feel" uniformly about all death is that the passing of a member of one's family, or a close friend, means no more than the passing of someone one have never heard of. It must be a mighty strange person who responds like that.

Avus said...

Someone dies, I suppose, every second all over the world. To express and feel the same grief for each as one does for a loved one's death would be impossible and illogical. (which I suppose Tom has already said)

materfamilias said...

Absolutely agree and thanks for posting this. Have you seen this, which addresses the same issue: https://storify.com/JamilesLartey/on-fff

Catalyst said...

Bravo!

Lesley said...

Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful comments. It occurs to me now that perhaps this is some sort of coping mechanism: that people who just can't face the awfulness of the event, deflect their attention from it by concentrating on the unfairness of not caring in equal measure about all atrocities.

Lucy said...

Hmm, maybe, that's a charitable way of looking at it. I suppose smug moral superiority is more comfortable than heartache. I do like Lartey's 'tragedy hipsters' idea, though.

Le laquet said...

Bravo - we're all touched by them all, no human being practising extremism should be killing another in the name of religion BUT let's be realistic when people we know, really know are affected then it means more. But that doesn't stop us being sad :(
*gabbling*

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