The Problem Is Not The French Flag On Facebook

There is outrage for the French flag Facebook filter. However, is this outrage justified?

It is a noble and empathetic way of sharing the pain of those whom had died in a tragic event. There is no denying that the atrocious crimes committed in Paris deserve our grief, empathy and reflection.

However, things are not black and white. It is not wrong to show publicly your support towards the victims, on the contraire, it shows a sense of humanity that unfortunately, is becoming lost.

The outrage many people carry because of this “insignificant” Facebook filter carries more meaning behind it than a simple filter.

It is sad that France had to go through what many countries go through EVERY SINGLE DAY. Nevertheless, people forget that people die in violent terrorist crimes every day around the world and there are no Facebook filters to show grief and empathy towards Palestinians, Syrians, Afghans or Iraqis.

I feel for France, I truly do. I live in a country where gunshots and bombs are nothing extraordinary, which is why it doesn’t even make the news anymore.

This however doesn’t prevent me from feeling grief and empathy for the lost lives that were ripped away from our world in a selfish and cowardice crime, regardless of their country of citizenship.

This is what makes many outraged over the French flag Facebook filter: The fact that the world is oblivious to the majority of crimes that are being committed in other places.

Social media and the media don’t give it the same attention as they’re giving the terrorist attack in France and so people don’t care about it. There is no sympathy, no grief, no reflection and no Facebook filter for these other tragedies.

Facebook doesn’t have the safety check feature for people in Syria or Palestine, why? People are dying there every single day.

Are their lives worth less because they live in countries where death is common?

French people are fortunate enough to live in a country where those horrible events are rare, which is why when they happen they make worldwide news.

When I was in university I had a professor that told me: “if there is a terrorist attack in Rwanda you might see it on the news in a small corner of the international page, but if there is a terrorist attack in Sweden, it will make breaking news worldwide because unfortunately we live in a world where money and power dictates the value and importance of your life.”

The Facebook French flag filter shows exactly that. A few  days before the terrorist attacks in France, there was a terrorist attack in Lebanon were 40 people lost their lives. There is no Facebook flag filter for this, the Facebook safety check feature, nor has it received the same news coverage.

Does the French flag Facebook filter show solidarity? YES, it shows support, empathy and it shows awareness. But it also shows ignorance, lack of empathy, favoritism and elitism.

It is important to keep our empathy and humanity alive, but it is also important to not let it have a flag, a nationality and a preference. Every human life is valuable, regardless of their country of citizenship, first world or third world.


One comment

  • You forgot to write down that it also shows hypocrisy. It not really news that when white people die they make world wide news, but when someone of color dies no one mentions it, just like the 140 student that died in Kenya.
    I loved your story, thank you for helping bring awareness to issues that are not being mention by the media. Great job, keep it up.

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