On The Outside Looking In: The Paris Attacks And The Facebook Filter
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

On The Outside Looking In: The Paris Attacks And The Facebook Filter

On The Outside Looking In: The Paris Attacks And The Facebook Filter

The attacks on Paris this past Friday have stimulated such intense reactions and responses from people all over the world, including my Facebook timeline. I was not one of the many who have changed their profile pictures to the red, white, and blue filter offered in order to “Support France and the people of Paris.” My decision not to change my profile picture is not a political statement or an act of protest against the “bandwagon” mentality. I simply know that I do not know. That is, I recognize that I know little, if not nothing, about international politics.

I do know, however, that there exists underlying dispositions that lead us to react so strongly and impulsively to the tragedy that took the lives of many on Friday night. And that these dispositions are derived from our lived experiences, our position in society, our privileges, upbringings, religions, and, in the case of many, citizenship in a powerful, influential nation. That latter detail struck me at my core as I resisted the temptation to respond or offer some critique, fighting the intense remorse of doing so because of my privileged position in society. What do I have to offer? I’m just a 20 year-old middle class college student. Indeed, this is true. But regardless, my intense heartbreak over this event is valid, as is everyone else’s.

My best friend messaged me during work about the Paris bombings, and my heart dropped. A close friend whom I had met last year during her exchange program lived in Paris. I immediately felt the tense pressure build up behind my eyes as I fought back tears. All I could think was Dear God, please tell me Léa is alive. It didn’t matter that we had lost touch, all I could think of was her and her safety. She was a wanderess, a free spirit, and I imagined her out and about on a Friday night on the streets of Paris. I messaged her frantically while still on the clock, and anxiously waited for her response. She responded gratefully and thanked me for thinking of her. This didn’t stop the flood of tears. Because I was still on the clock, I couldn’t keep up with the live updates, and anxiously went about my normal closing duties, such as mopping. My whole state of being was vacant. I couldn’t wrap my head around what was unfolding oceans away; the absolute fear, the families broken, the rising body count, all while I was standing around at work organizing cookies and making lattes. I felt small, to say the least.

We live in a time that is strongly shaped by social media, where something as menial as a Facebook status or filter can incite such deep emotions and frustration within us. I have sat along the periphery for the past two days, observing and analyzing people’s responses, shifting through article after article on ISIS and the variations in the media coverage, shedding tears at the survivors’ accounts of the incident. There is an intense conflict within me that feels the need to say something about it all, but the event is still fresh, the blood has not yet dried, and the fact of the matter is innocent human lives were lost.

It does not matter if these humans were wealthy or poor, white or black, or lived in a privileged nation; families are forever changed, and there is no going back. There is no right or wrong way to respond or react to tragedy, but there is a level of respect for humanity as a whole that should be taken into account when responding to events such as these. My timeline has been bombarded with the opinions of many, ranging from heartfelt, to ignorantly biased, to explicitly racist. A lot of these responses have shaken me, forcing me to acknowledge grim aspects of this world we live in. To see the world as an unbalanced playing field ravaged by inequalities and disparity, the same disparity that leads individuals to bomb and murder 129 people. Being aware and taking a step back from the center is necessary to maintain the integrity of the matter.

Kovie Biakolo provides a very conscious reflection on the reasoning behind the strong solidarity that has come out of the woodwork by many people on social media spaces. We do not have to belittle France's tragedy for the sake of revealing the tragedies of others, we can reflect upon the them in their own respective contexts. Blaming or attacking people for their lack of awareness on the matter of political consciousness is not the way to go. Again, it comes down to lived experiences; the political, social, academic, and economic privileges that shape a person's understanding of the world around them. Not everyone's collective consciousness is the same, not everyone knows about the media's selective agenda, or the concept of political ideologies and the institutions that spread them. There is a disparity in education and this is not common knowledge, as some people would have you think. This knowledge is not equally spread, it is scattered.

To put it simply, there is a whole lot of work to be done in this world, but slandering the French and the Facebook filter is going to accomplish nothing, much less than those who have chosen the Facebook filter are accomplishing. Fighting hate with hate will only spread more, say it with me, hate. There is power in solidarity, as optimistically naive as it sounds. Cynicism backed by valid facts is still cynicism. One does not have to be blissfully unaware to care about what happened two days ago. Empathy is a natural human condition, a remarkably influential one that possesses a power to bring together people in light of horrifying conditions. And while people should reflect more and immerse themselves in a broader scope of observation when responding to such tragedies, their innate sense of empathy should not be mocked. After all, humanity is worth much more than a silly Facebook filter.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

How Much Of A Coffee Snob You Are, Based On Where You Live

Your state may determine how picky you are about your coffee.


When it comes to coffee, everyone has different criteria for what goes into their "perfect cup." Some caffeine lovers, though, are extra particular when it comes to their beloved beverage. One survey found that the state you're from (or the one you live in now) may play a part in determining how much of a coffee snob you actually are.

LiveShopper Sassie, the company behind this Coffee Project survey, received input from 1,000 coffee drinkers via their mobile app, PrestoShopper, to ask various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less

To celebrate the five year anniversary of his debut album "TRAPSOUL" Tiller has released two new albums and these are my favorites from the release. The deluxe album includes songs that didn't make the cut from the debut album and the "Anniversary" album has brand new songs.

Keep Reading... Show less

Where To Find The Best Coffee Drinks In America, According To A Survey

Here's the coffee shop where you should get your morning brew.


Coffee, for billions of people, is one of the only things that can get us out of bed (after hitting snooze a time or two), especially in 2020. Because, if we're being honest, is there anything that beats a quality cup of coffee on those mornings when all we wanted to do is roll over and go back to sleep? The answer is no. And if you're headed to a coffee shop to pick up your caffeinated beverage, you don't want to sleep on the best coffee drinks in America.

According to LiveShopper Sassie's Coffee Project survey, when it comes to chain coffee shops, there are definitely preferred spots you'll want to hit up for your go-to order — whether you order the classic, frozen, or flavored coffee, an espresso, tea, or other. To figure out the hot spots, 1,000 coffee drinkers across the United States took to LiveShopper's mobile app, PrestoShopper, to answer various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less

Halloween is every costume-lover's favorite holiday. Growing up in Canada, I remember wearing turtlenecks and sweats under my princess costumes. The opportunity for it to be socially acceptable to dress up as anybody but yourself for just one night a year is one most of us love taking advantage of.

I was doing "couples" costumes with my girlfriends before I ever had a boyfriend. There was a year in high school in which my best friend and I dressed up as two of the Golden Girls and one year in which we went to Halloween parties dressed up as Iago and Jafar.

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Survey: Which Issues Are The Most Important To You In The 2020 Election

If you're a first-time voter or voting by mail for the first time, we want to hear your story.


The general election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, will decide not only the next president of the United States but also which political party controls the House of Representatives and the Senate. Young and first-time voters will play a crucial part in determining the result.

Keep Reading... Show less

Gary Chapman wrote a book called, "The Five Love Languages: The Secrets to Love That Lasts" and in it, he discusses what he coined as the five languages of love, which are the most common ways that people express and experience love. These five love languages include words of affirmation, receiving gifts, physical touch, quality time, and acts of service. If you aren't sure what your or your partner's love language is, you can take this quiz to find out.

Now, finding out what your partner's love language is step one to better understanding how to love them, but step two is figuring out how to best implement their love language into your relationship. That can be hard, so to help couples out, I put together a list of 10 different things you can do for your partner that is specific to their love language.

Keep Reading... Show less

Articles To Write If You're All About Saving More Money, And Waking Up A Little Bit Earlier

Get your day started right — and keep that budget tight.


For all the young professionals, parents, and students out there who've been working, learning, or even teaching remote — 2020 has likely been the longest year of your life. If you didn't know (sorry), we've been locked down for over 200 days now, and chances are, you are ready for it to be OVER.

Keep Reading... Show less

I Asked Over 50 Students What The Best Part Of Their Morning Routine Is, And The Answers Are In

I asked over 50 high school and college students what their favorite part of their morning routine is, here's the verdict.


Although there was a wide variety of answers, I was able to place everyone into eight different categories. All but about six answers were said more than once!

Keep Reading... Show less

Our world is so full of such sadness, and sometimes we just need something to bond us to one another. What better way than science puns? They're not just for the intellectuals among us (though they might get a bit more of a laugh out of some of these than us more ignorant folks) they're also for those of us who want a good laugh or maybe to impress a particularly science-y crush. Some of these puns might even teach us.

Keep Reading... Show less

Halloween is just days away and though spooky season feels like it's lasted a lot longer than a few weeks of 2020, it's time to add some scares you've actually signed up for to the mix. Personally, I love a good fright as long as I'm prepared.

Keep Reading... Show less
Disney Channel

One of the favorite things we love about fall is Halloween. Since we can't do our usual traditions and activities this year, we can still do a Halloween marathon of our favorite movies safely at home.

And where else can you get some nostalgia during Halloween than Disney Channel Original Movies? Here are nine Disney Channel Original Movies to watch during this spooky season.

Keep Reading... Show less

I Asked Young Adults Their Favorite Parts of Their Morning Rituals, And At-Home Workouts Are Having A Moment

Our lives have changed a lot in the past year, and along with everything else, so have our morning routines.


While we were socialized to be a part of the group that stumbles out of bed into the shower, getting ready for work (or class), grabbing a granola bar for class, and stopping for Dunkin on the way in, being locked at home has changed our perspective on how mornings could be.

Keep Reading... Show less

Surprise surprise, bebes! If you're on a dating app and looking for something to draw the attention of prospective lovers, it's time to add in some of your favorite TV show references and let the matches roll in, especially if you're obsessed with "Schitt's Creek" and/or "The Office."

Because after the dating app Ship rolled out its Top Shows profile feature, they discovered that people with certain television shows mentioned in their bios actually had increased chances of getting matches. Data from the app showed that these are the top 10 shows to increase your chances of finding love:

Keep Reading... Show less

- Like a lot of fellow skincare junkies, clean beauty has been a passion of mine for years — more and more of us are embracing natural ways of taking care of our bodies.

- A few months ago, I was introduced to Symbiome: a newly launched brand with supercharged ingredients from the Amazon that showed faster results in healing acne and pigmentation on my skin than anything I've tried.

- Each minimalist product from the brand has ten or fewer ingredients, all naturally and sustainable sourced. Most have less than four.

Being Indian, clean beauty has always been a core part of my beauty rituals passed down from my mother and grandmother. From massaging warm coconut oil into our scalps to sweeping DIY turmeric saffron masks on our faces, most South Asian households were doing the clean beauty thing before the Western world labeled it as such.

For that reason, when I first heard about Symbiome: a clean skincare brand featuring supercharged ingredients sourced from the Amazon, I was immediately intrigued. The brand features four postbiomic oils, a restorative cream, and two cleansers.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments