I remember when the news about the Paris attacks first broke last weekend and was broadcast across the television during the evening prime time news, I was completely silent. My entire family and I were huddled up on the couch as we watched in a mix of terror and shock while several survivors relayed their stories to the broadcast journalists.
They were the fortunate few who were given a new morning to look forward to, despite what must have felt like numbered moments for them. One innocent bystander shared how his cellphone actually saved his life from the bullet which could have killed him.
It hit me hard that these French neighbours of ours had just witnessed what could possibly be one of the most horrific experiences in their lives. Nobody could have expected that such despair could hit of all countries, the country of love. It was through this realisation that I came to comprehend that there are just some things we should NOT be doing following the aftermath of the Paris attacks, and here are just 4 of them.
1. Speculate and form your own hypothesis.
It is easy to just ponder aloud on our social media platforms about what might have caused the attacks but unless we were in the shoes of those innocent bystanders, we may not be able to fully comprehend what has happened on November 13.
At best, we can draw a simple guess, but really how accurate can that be? Therefore, posting a status update about our own set of ideas which are not backed by concrete facts and evidence, might have a tendency of coming across as insensitive. After all, the more we speculate and point fingers, the more unnecessary drama is created.
2. Create racial tension.
The worst thing we can do right now is to add salt to wound. By bringing up the issue of races and unwillingness to lend our support to Paris, we are fueling the hatred towards certain groups of people.
This really is uncalled for, because nobody wishes such things to happen to anybody and it should be now, more so than ever, that we choose to be sensitive to what pain our French brothers and sisters may be feeling now. In fact, some of those victims might have even have Muslim friends of their own and it is unfair to point fingers, especially when we don’t have the facts to back it up.
3. ‘Monkey see, monkey do’ on social media.
Following the attacks, many people began changing their Facebook profile pictures to the red-white-blue shade in support of Paris, and while it might seem as an act of solidarity, it is always important to know what lies behind our actions.
Is it just a case of ‘monkey see, monkey do’ whereby we do it to remain relevant with the current situation? Another popular trend that picked up was the hashtag #PrayForParis, which some actually utilised, when taking their selfie of the day.
Let’s remind ourselves that a hashtag does not actually constitute a prayer, and a good selfie of ourselves does not justify the use of the red-white-blue shade on our profile pictures.
4. Mock and judge the whole situation.
We can judge all we want, but the bottom line is that everyone shows their support in their own timing and way. For instance, by not updating our statuses with the hashtag #PrayForParis, it does not mean that we are not doing so.
We are not being ignorant with the situation but instead choosing to not be vocal about our choices and that in itself is a personal choice. There is really no black and white to it because unless you’re prepared to fly to Paris and offer your personal services as a grief counsellor, you should not judge how others choose to respond and show their support.
In fact, now what we can do is not to fuel the hatred by which this whole horrible incident stems from. By cultivating a feeling of mutual respect for everyone who has been directly or indirectly affected by the attacks, we are showing what we should all do—which is stand together at times when it is the hardest to.