Reading an article in the Independent as I took the bus home on Monday evening I was shocked. It was a well-written, well-argued article that claimed me, and thousands of others across the Western World, were encouraging white supremacy by having the French flag as a filter over Facebook profile pictures. It also mentioned the ‘Safety Check’ feature on Facebook, used for the first time this year.
I found myself nodding my head at times, yet after consideration I realised it was a classic example of a need to step away from the majority of the world. Lulu Nunn’s article tells us that by using the easy-access feature to show solidarity with the French people, we are being white supremacists. Maybe, just maybe, it is instead that I recognise this terrible tragedy and am more affected by it because it affects the very bus journey I read it on.
It brings about a realisation that this bus journey could end in tragedy because we face a bigger threat than at any time in the last decade. The death of almost 150 innocent people in Paris just enjoying life on a Friday night, going to a football match, sharing a meal out or being at a rock concert shows us that so-called Islamic State may be in London soon.
Perhaps too, the attention on Paris could be because we have had close relations, either with or against, for the past 1000 years. Meanwhile, some British people may not know of Beirut, and I’m not adding humour. We care about France because we, minus the English Channel, are neighbours. So close are we that some in Britain go for day trips to Paris, the city brutally and tragically attacked in the merciless fashion of IS.
Yes, it is bad that the attention was little on the attack in Beirut, the earthquake in Japan.
It is not due to white supremacy that my Facebook profile picture has a translucent French flag over it. Maybe it is because of Facebook’s easy option to do so, and maybe they are not doing it for mourning but publicity. Yet it is because of a sorrow for these 129 deaths, and a sudden realisation that I among the other 7 million people in London are a target, and an achievable one for the manipulating bastards that are Islamic State.