How Do You Make Facebook Enemies?

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With every attack on innocent people everywhere: we try not to lose faith in humanity. We urge each other to believe that good triumphs over evil. We propound that we will continue to go out, to shop, to go to school, venture out to work, eat in cafes and attend concerts.

We say that to stay at home and hide, means the terrorists win. They terrorize even those of us who are still safe and uninjured, because our safety seems tenuous and we begin to doubt our freedom and second guess where we should travel.

Terrorism is the enemy of freedom.

But there is a bizarre number of angry personal statements that erupt with each event. What seems to spark this outcry is when other people show sympathy and unity with the attacked.

Of course, this most recently happened when apparently ISIS killed and maimed hundreds of people in Paris. Several of my friends on Facebook changed their profile photos to the colors of the French flag. Several displayed art that re-interpreted the peace sign into the Eiffel Tower.

Unbelievably, this set up a war of whose death matters. Some posts I read in reaction to the terrorism in Paris:

“Facebook doesn’t have a Kenya flag update on people’s profiles!”

“Nearly 2,000 Civilians Were Killed in a Single Terror Attack in Nigeria—Where Was Facebook?”

“Where is the Facebook flag for Syria?”

It’s unbelievable, but each tragedy sets up a war about profile graphics on Facebook.

I always wonder about what such admonishments say about the personal brands who hurl them.

If your grandparent dies, and someone gives you sincere condolences do you condemn that person as mean-spirited or disrespectful for not sending condolences to everyone who lost a grandparent?

I don’t know about you, but I did not seek to overlook, deny or avoid the importance of tragic events in any place; in any of 196+ countries on the planet. Violence against innocent people, enslavement, beheadings, and all manner of horror have been part of the world events I attend to and grieve.

There is not a country without violence, inhumanity, and terror.

But it is not a competition. Nor a time for aggression against mourners.

If you are moved by events of any place and you wish to change your profile photo – you do not need Facebook’s graphics team to give you a flag to transpose over your face.

You can do that yourself. And, when you do: you will perhaps inform those who know less than you do. Or, you will affirm your solidarity with those who know what you know.

But, don’t use the most recent tragedy to start a war of words, or attack on anyone’s character. Not all of us wear our grief on our profile photos. Most of us bear the sadness of the world’s inhumanity in our hearts.

There is no flag for how I feel, although I respect those who post one. There are lyrics by John Lennon that seem to sum up what I imagine might eventually come to pass to save us all.

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace.

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