#PrayforParis: Don’t fear empathy
The atrocities committed in Paris Friday, Nov. 13, has paralyzed all edges of the world. The Eiffel tower has darkened, and our hearts sank in light of the terrorist attacks ISIS has taken credit for that killed 129 people in multiple locations.
The day after the attacks, thousands (if not millions) of people changed their profile photo filter to the French flag to stand in solidarity with the people of France.
A seemingly harmless and empathetic act has sparked cynical and angry posts on social media. Putting a photo filter doesn’t actually help anyone, some say. Why are we only caring about France when other countries have experienced similar tragedies, others say.
There are merits to these arguments. But showing empathy for one country in a dark time does not take empathy away from another, and devaluing those efforts for the sake of being adversarial hurts everyone. Yes, realistically changing a photo filter to the French flag does not stop terrorism, donate blood to French hospitals, or even address other atrocities in Beirut, Syria or otherwise. But calling out these efforts as “not good enough” devalues the tragedy in Paris just as much as the tragedies in other countries without as much media coverage.
So don’t be guilted out of your French flag photo filter. An innocent action such as this should not be taken for granted. Taking our anger out on a filter won’t change anything–but discussion could.