How You Shouldn’t Feel About Paris



Alan Bennett (no, not that one) writes:

When I first heard the news I flicked from the Bosnia vs. Ireland match to a 24 hour news channel, and watched the events unfold for the next three or four hours. Then I put it back on again first thing in the morning, and I read my favourite newspaper apps.

Other people showed solidarity with France by putting a French flag on their Facebook profile picture. They wrote statuses, they tweeted, constantly watched the news, and maybe they even actively did something. It doesn’t matter. It’s up to each individual person how they express their outrage.

Then there were the other people who took this opportunity to jump up on their high horse and look down on everyone else. They said things like, “Why was no one upset when 147 people were killed in Kenya?” and, “An ISIS suicide bomber also killed a lot of people in Baghdad, but you don’t care.”

READ ON : Don’t Tell People How They Should or Shouldn’t Feel About the Paris Attacks (Alan Bennett, Headstuff)


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43 thoughts on “How You Shouldn’t Feel About Paris

  1. Sham Bob

    So who’s telling people how to feel about Paris, Alan Bennett, or the people mentioning Kenya/Iraq that he describes?

  2. parky mark

    Then came the next group of even lower knobs. The people who jumped on the people who had complained about people not caring about Kenya/Beirut/where ever.

    1. meadowlark

      This is beyond true. That said, we only know what our media chooses to report. But in the age of social media and the Internet there is no excuse for ignorance of these things if you are willing to look.

  3. munkifisht

    Can’t agree more. Many people out there don’t seem to get that these shows of solidarity are not slacktivism, they are the initial reaction to something most find hard to comprehend and impotent to help. What can you do? Really not much. The flags on FB, the changing of a profile pic, the expression of how you feel and how your thoughts are with those in France is not the signs of someone trying to jump on a bandwagon, it’s the same reason we have a minutes silence at the start of matches, why we fly a flag at half mast, why we wear a pin or a bracelet. We are only trying to tell those who we might know who are affected that we are thinking of them. That we are disgusted by what happened.

    And with regards to all the other atrocities, this IS different to us. This is one of our neighbours. You can get a ferry to France, most of us know French people, many of us know someone who’s moved to Paris, there were Irish people in the crowd. Of course what happens in Beirut or Lebanon or Malaysia is awful, but as morbid as it sounds, they are not on our doorstep. Add to this the fact that those targeted were young people at a sports game, people at a concert, people out having a meal. That is what is also so shocking. If there was a similar attack anywhere in the world it would make major headlines. and there are cases where attacks, like in Tel Aviv, like against the schoolgirls in Syria have made headlines.

    1. andydufresne2011

      Be careful there Munkifisht, you’re sailing very close to a kind humane response there. No room for that on the internet.

      1. john

        Agreed – however a lot of the responses say more about the responder as in “look at me, look how much I care” etc. Do the victims of the attacks care if a stranger presses a button and turns their social media picture a different colour?

        It’s so easy these days to express solidarity/outrage – just one click – and it gives people a sense they have done something, when they really haven’t. These issues are very complicated, and most people have no control over them. It’s arguable the genesis of ISIS started with the dissolution of the Baath party in Iraq and all its structures. There’s not much that anyone in Ireland could have done about that.

        It’s also natural for many to express more sympathy for an attack in Paris than one in Baghdad – ‘There but for the grace of god…” is a powerful emotion, and we are far more likely to spend a long weekend in Paris than in Baghdad or Beirut.

        No easy answers, but would argue that changing twitter/FB profiles gives people the illusion of some control, when it reality they have none.

    2. Stumpy

      ‘If there was a similar attack anywhere in the world it would make major headlines.’ Manifestly untrue.

      1. munkifisht

        Well Adam Curtis said it so it’s true. hummm…..

        If it is an event in a poor country there is something you can do straight away. Donate money. If it’s an attack on our second closest neighbour in a country much richer than us what can we do straight away. I’m sorry, but in the immediate aftermath the answer is pretty much nothing. Given time and distance there may come to light some way you can help directly, but as it stands a message in whatever medium you see fit (digital or analogue) is about as good as it gets.

  4. scottser

    there was a real bang of enoch powell round here on saturday morning. you could tell BS moderators were having a lie-in, the level of ’round em up and ship em out’ nearly put me off me fry. nearly.

      1. scottser

        My sausage was far more considered and palateable than many of the ‘opnions’ i read that morning, mr fish.

    1. jeremy kyle

      Does it come with a empathy calculator so I can make sure mine is evenly distributed among every victim of disaster (man made or otherwise) at all times?

    2. MoyestWithExcitement

      “It’s a dismaying and damaging truth that Westerners care about and empathise with images of white-skinned women grieving in Topshop bobble hats far more than brown-skinned women grieving in niqabs”

      Well, that and human nature. You relate more to people who look like you and/or live like you. You can blame evolution.

      1. Seriously

        Inversely I would probably care more about a brown-skinned women grieving wearing Topshop Jumpers (whether Bobble-hatted or Hahijed) than I would about white-skinned women grieving in niqabs.

        Partly because these are my peers but also because I assume the people in niqabs are in a war-torn region of the Middle East, not in Paris watching an EODM gig…

      1. andydufresne2011

        Actually it annoyed me so much I read it. As I thought – A high horse keyboard warrior who seriously missed the point and chooses to imply we’re all hypocrites while telling us all how we ‘should’ react.

        Sod off Lulu. The type of person I unfollow on FB rather then unfriend because it’s not worth the argument.

    3. rotide

      This is exactly the sort of rubbish the original article and munkfisht and thousands of others are talking about.

      Your “emotionally developed writer with an understanding of the complexities of the matter ” seems to think that facebook is the only social network on the planet and is unaware of weibo and VK and the multitude of other ones that we in the west don’t bother with for various reasons. Ironically, it’s the author that is being ‘euro-centric’.

      Don’t give up on the humanities degree though.

  5. george

    Whatever about the article please fix the horrible distortion of the image which has been horizontally stretched.

    1. andydufresne2011

      Because it has to be said. Be kinder – it’s worth saying. The article makes perfect sense. It’s simple and straight forward.

        1. ReproBertie

          That was almost a sentence but no, they don’t.

          There was a murder in Co. Westmeath over the weekend. It made the news in Ireland. Idiots like you would have RTÉ berated for not giving the same coverage to other recent murders in other countries. “Aren’t the lives of murder vicitms in Baltimore as important as the life of a murder victim in Ballynacargy?” you’d moan to anyone who’d listen even though it’s only you who has decided that a judgement call has been made based on value rather then simple proximity.

          Maybe try to be less stupid.

    1. :-Joe

      4.921 According to my new faceDERP APPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

      but It’s live and changing all the time… 4.936


  6. karlj

    Well in that case, who in RTÉ decided in April 2013 to interrupt radio programming for hours to bring live coverage of 6 deaths in a terrorist bombing in Boston but not do the same for 130+ deaths in Paris ?

    1. ReproBertie

      RTÉ had live continuing coverage of the Paris atrocities on the RTÉNewsNow channel so I guess you can blow that one out your back side as well.

  7. Declan

    That was an excellent article. I’ve seen it on Facebook where certain friends of mine trying to call people out on it but I never see them mention other tragedies.

    We are who we are and care about what we know. I’d wager that somebody in India would have seen the headline and them just moved on but when Mumbai was attacked or even when there was the Tsunami that would of been a different story – that’s life

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