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Saturday, November 14, 2015

It's A Shame

If you are on Facebook, you've seen the posts. Sometimes they are "suggested posts", sometimes the posts come from your Facebook friends.

They want to shame you.

A recent one is the Starbucks red cup controversy. I'm not going to go into too many details, you can check the link yourself if you haven't already heard about it. Essentially, some people don't like what the red cup means, or doesn't mean. What's really fascinating, though, is the shaming that came out because of that controversy.

There are people starving, kids without water, people dying...you know the drill. You had that happen to you when you were a kid and you didn't eat everything on your plate. That kind of shaming. It's not that I think the red cup squabble is important. It isn't. But the fact that we want to shame each other every time some silly controversy pops up on Twitter or Facebook makes me wonder where this desire to shame comes from and how necessary it really is.

Of COURSE there are bad things going on all over the world all the time. That goes without saying. The people who want to put you in your place have a problem with you not paying attention to things they think are more important. Social media has given them a virtual megaphone to do it even more loudly than before. And they love it when their shaming goes viral!

Here is the most recent one that has my knickers in a knot.

The slaughter of 126+ people in Paris, not to mention the hundreds who were injured, brought out a huge wave of outrage, sympathy and compassion all over the world. There have been vigils, monuments have been lit with the colours of the French flag, world leaders have condemned the actions of these disgusting extremists, it has left us all in shock.

But someone out there has found a way to shame us because we didn't react in the same way to the 45 people who were recently killed in Beirut.

Let's put it in perspective here: it isn't because some people's lives are more important than others. It's because we can relate more to some than others. That sounds cruel, but think about it for a moment. If your old neighbour gets killed and somebody that you don't know who lives a few streets away also gets killed, are you going to cry for them equally? It's not even just a matter of proximity or geography. But the chances are that those of us in the west have more likely visited Paris or have met someone from France. In fact several of my Facebook friends posted earlier pictures of themselves by the Eiffel Tower after the shootings. Should these people not post their pictures unless they have one to post of themselves in Beirut?

We react to what we relate to. No matter how compassionate and loving a person you are, you are not going to cry for everything and everyone equally. Certain events and people mean more to you than others.

And an outpouring of sorrow, love and support for anyone should never be shamed.

In fact, a comment someone made when I posted my support for Paris, had a really good point. Take this opportunity to smile at someone or hug someone or just to be positive. Do that instead of raging. Or shaming. Get off your high horse and BE the person you desire everyone else to be.

IJ