The other day, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed–trying to decide whether or not I would upload something about the attack in Nice.
I turned to my husband–who is both French and had family and friends in Nice at the time of the attack.
It occurred to me that he hadn’t written anything about the attack on social media, and while I tend to use it more than he does, I thought because he is French and has lived in Nice, he would be more likely than I would to post anything about it.
It seemed inappropriate to post a photo of me smiling at an amusement park when something so horrible had just happened in Nice. I felt like because I was so connected to France, it was almost wrong if I didn’t acknowledge anything on social media–especially my Instagram where I am constantly posting photos.
Jean Philippe told me that he didn’t post anything because it felt hypocritical. Why should he post something about Nice when he didn’t acknowledge any of the other tragedies going on in poorer or “less developed” countries? It didn’t matter to him that he was French–he didn’t feel like that made it okay for him to care more about lives lost in Nice than in other parts of the world. If he posts about Nice, then shouldn’t he post about Turkey? About lives lost around the world?
When a tragedy happens in a Western country–the whole world stops for a moment and grieves. But non-Western countries are not given the same attention.
In November, I was almost angered after the Paris attacks when I saw friends on social media posting pictures of them smiling in front of the Eiffel tower. Even though they were sending their condolences, the pictures felt inappropriate. Were they making the attack about themselves or did they really feel badly because they had once been to Paris?
Maybe the Paris attacks felt like more of a blow to people who had visited Paris, because they could empathize more with victims of the attack in Paris than victims of Beirut, Baghdad or Kenya (places that were attacked around the same time).
The reality is, I’m not even sure if I would have felt as sad as I did about the Paris attack if I weren’t in France at the time. Nor am I sure if I would be feeling so bad about the Nice attack if I weren’t married to a French citizen and so in love with France.
We tend to care more when someone we know or love is close to or hurt by these tragedies.
Of course, this is natural. Once something is humanized to us, we feel more.
But the truth of the matter is that every life matters. Not only the lives lost in Paris, but also the lives lost in Beirut, Baghdad, Kenya, and all over the world.
The lives lost in Turkey matter just as much as the lives lost in Nice.
I know I wrote about the Nice attack on my blog, but I’m going to make it a goal of mine to read about the world news–not just stories about countries I feel more connected to.
The world needs more love. Less hate.
The whole world.