17. November 2015

Stop the profile picture discussion! [English post]

It took less than 24 hours until the posts in social media changed from expressing a mixture of sympathies and shock about the terrible attacks in Paris to discussing the use of changing the profile picture to the French flag. The discussions quickly turned into a fight, on the one side the people who changed their profile picture, on the other side the people who complained about the uselessness of changing the picture and brought forward the argument, that nobody change their picture when Beirut was attacked a few days earlier.

Well, dear Mr. / Mrs. I-have-the-urge-to-replace-the-discussion-about-the-horrible-ISIS-terrorism-with-a-absolutely-trivial-discussion-about-profile-pictures, here is something you should consider: It doesn’t matter, if someone changes their profile picture or not, it simply doesn’t matter! The people who changed it, did it to show their sympathies to everyone who lost friends and family in the attacks, to express solidarity, and to send a sign to every terrorist out there, that France will be supported in the fight against terrorism. Is there anything bad about these reasons, is there anything that needs to be discussed about them? No, not at all.
Your argument is, changing the profile picture won’t help to fight terrorism. Right, it won’t. But first of all, that’s not what the people intended to do by changing their picture. And secondly, complaining about people, who change their profile picture, won’t help to stop terrorism either!
Your argument is, that no one expressed their sympathies a few days earlier when Beirut was attacked. Right, no one did. Neither did you. And why? Not because we didn’t know about it. Of course we knew about it, it was in the media. And it was of course as horrible as the attacks in France. But it does make a difference, if the attack happens in a country next to your own country or in a country that 70% of the European population have to google to find out where it is. Furthermore, I for example have many friends in Paris and I was worried about them and their families because I care about them. I don’t have any friends in Beirut. But if I had, I would be as worried about them as I was about my friends in Paris. That doesn’t mean, that I don’t care about the people who were killed in Beirut just because I didn’t know them. I do care about them and I’m very upset about all the attacks. But if you don’t have any connection to the place where it happened, it creates a distance to the terrible events. You feel less involved, less harmed. And apart from that, I would like to know, how many of the people who complained about Beirut not getting the same attention, know how the Lebanese flag looks like!

At this point you might be wondering, why I’m writing an article about the discussion although I think the discussion is useless. Why am I adding more words to such a trivial debate? Because I’m annoyed by this fight. Because I hate checking Facebook and Twitter right now because my news feed basically only consists of this discussion. Because I want to comment on every single post “Why do you care so much about other people’s profile pictures? It’s none of your business!” Because I don’t understand how people can debate about such a non-relevant thing like changing a profile picture for days!

129 people died in Paris, 40 people died in Beirut. All of them died because of horrible attacks by the Islamic State. Do you really think, that discussing profile pictures is the most important thing right now? Do you really think, that people who lost friends and family in the attacks, should be bothered with such a trivial topic?
Let people change their profile picture if they want to, it’s their right and none of your business. There are other things we should worry about right now!

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