Politics: Should Europeans be shamed for unification in a crisis?


After attacks across the world this past week, many are left in a harrowing and mournful state.

The focal point and centre of attention amidst all this crisis, were the Parisian attacks, in which as many as 129 people were killed and more than 300 injured after three groups of armed men rampaged the French capital last Friday.

In light of this coverage, many are rightfully angered that the Middle East was clearly not represented enough in comparison, a disparity of coverage was quite evident.

Devastation and attacks were seen also with ISIS bombings killing 43 in Beirut and 26 in Baghdad, among countless other cities falling victim to relentless terrorist attacks, igniting the belief that ‘are some tragedies more tragic that others?’

This was illustrated dramatically when Facebook opted not to add a ‘Safety Check‘ to these Middle Eastern locations although its use was prominent in France, the feature enabling those in areas of tragedy to mark themselves as safe, making their family and friends aware.

These actions have led to huge debates online and across the media. Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has since promised to enable the Safety Check feature more following these accusations of a ‘Western bias‘, saying: “we care about all people equally, and we will work hard to help people suffering in as many of these situations as we can.”

However, despite these selective actions of social conglomerates, this should not mean that the people within Europe (and globally) should be penalised for mourning their losses, or any losses for that matter.

It is ludicrous that in a crisis, people are being shamed for their solidarity and unification in a crisis. This is about death, death close to home and, of course, all lives matter.

Further accusations of ‘Western bias’ and ‘selective grief’ erupted as the social media website offered its users the ability to change their profile picture to a French flag overlay. Most on Facebook inclined, I did so myself.

Many an opinion piece has circulated the internet, with a fair few condemning the changing of profile pictures to represent the French, seen by some as a portrayal of jumping on a bandwagon of ‘corporate white supremacy‘, so to speak.

I am not French of course, I do not claim to be and I do not have family living in France. But, like many other Britons, I holiday in France, a ‘tourist’ within Paris often, and I have a great affection for the city. France is, after all, my neighboring country, I am European.

The atmosphere in my home city of Oxford the following morning after the widespread attacks was somber, with the minute silence yesterday being undeniably and widely respected across the UK.

Of course, I reiterate that all lives are equal, matter and should be represented as such. A degree of ignorance does remain, and we must remain vigilant, respectful and unified to the ongoing terrors worldwide. To all those affected by ongoing global crisis, I offer my deepest sympathy, no one should ever feel unsafe.

Let us hope that the tragedies of the paris attcks last week will continue to unify, and those whose voices reach the furthest will promote a more global and respectful representation in the future.