by Kimsua Lam
“Change your profile picture to support France and the people of Paris,” suggests Facebook as I scroll through my news feed the morning after the terrorist attacks devastated the city of Paris.
I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about that. At first, I was a little annoyed. As time passed and as I read more updates on the state of the people of Paris, my heart continued to swell with sadness. I started to notice that my Facebook news feed became a sea of red, white, and blue conformity. At this point, I felt a little indifferent.
Then, I read a story about a woman who, during an attack, held her loved one in her arms as his life slowly writhed away from her grasp. The irony in that article wielded a stream of tears from my eyes. The more stories like these that I read, the more my anger had caught up with my sadness. That’s when I noticed that one of the filters I saw on someone’s profile picture had read “temporary.”
Temporary – that’s exactly what this kind of “support” was. You could actually decide when you wanted to end your support. Let that sentence marinate for a minute. Is this what society has become? A place where support and compassion make their bed in social media and become frivolous and short-term? That’s when I decided that the Facebook filter was diminutive as compared to what one can really do to support those who survived the attacks in all of its horror.
Horror – that’s what these people endured and are still struggling to endure. The attacks have come to a halt, but the pain, the heartache, and the emotional turmoil that these people are left with will continue to burgeon. Will my Facebook filter work to temper away the pain – both physical and emotional?
As a supplement to applying a filter to “show your support” for the people of Paris, how about making a donation to local organizations like the French Secours Populaire, Friends of Fondation de France, Inc., or The Secours Catholique-Caritas France?
As a supplement to applying a filter to “show your support” for the people of Paris, how about donating blood to the French National Blood Service if you are in Paris or a neighboring community?
As a supplement to applying a filter to “show your support” for the people of Paris, how about following and participating with the hashtag #PorteOuverte, which means “Open Door” and is used for providing your home as shelter to French citizens who may be stranded by flight delays or by the closing of France’s borders in the wake of the attacks?
And while I do not disapprove of those who chose to apply the Paris filter, I am only making it a point that, perhaps, going a step beyond the filter can demonstrate your compassion and support more constructively.
Wouldn’t making a direct and positive impact have a more lasting effect for those in Paris who need more than just a red, white, and blue camouflage strewn atop our faces?
Food for thought.