With most of you I spent hours Friday night refreshing my twitter and facebook feeds in horror as we learned more about the terrorist attacks in Paris. The more I read the more it burdened my heart for those people.
At the same time there was encouragement as individuals around the world sent encouraging messages, prayers, and shows of solidarity with the French people using social media. The hashtag #prayersforparis dominated over the weekend and a huge amount of facebook users changed their profile pics with an overlay of the french flag (please forgive me for not doing so, can’t figure out how for some reason)
This isn’t the first time we have seen social media sights used for this purpose following a tragedy, and won’t be the last. There is no doubt in my mind the people of Paris are encouraged by individuals all around the world standing with them.
The question is, what do we do next?
One thing the Lord has been convicting me about lately is in situations like this some retweets, hashtags, and changing my profile to defend a particular cause is the extent of my involvement. And while bringing attention to the need is a good thing, it is only the first step towards a solution.
In other words, we mourn and weep over the loss. But then we wipe the tears out of our eyes and ask, “okay what are we going to do about this?”
Before getting into what I personally believe we should do about the problem, let me tell you what we shouldn’t do…..we shouldn’t flood facebook or twitter with articles defending our views on the situation (refugees should not be allowed in the country, or such a small amount of Muslims are actually violent we shouldn’t treat them all like terrorists).
Now as your getting ready to type that angry comment please hear me out.
I’m not saying there isn’t a place for education following these attacks. The problem is sending these articles or pictures is just too easy. Just like typing a hashtag isn’t enough to fix the challenges of ISIS, clicking share on a website isn’t going to do it either. Instead sharing articles is another first step which leaves us with the same question “what are we going to do about it?”
In my humble opinion the answer is to become students of the worlds culure
As an American who lives in foreign Countries I experienced firsthand how living in the US had given me tunnel-vision so to speak because I didn’t have a lot of knowledge about what was going on in the rest of the world. The joke Australians tell is when American news programs share news from around the world it’s what we (the US) are doing around the world 🙂 This focus on local and national news from the media means it’s OUR RESPONSIBILITY to learn more about what’s going on in the world.
Using Paris as an illustration the Lord has challenged me to start asking some hard questions about what happened there.
- How did this happen?
- Why didn’t the focus on surveillance following January’s attack do anything to stop it
- Why is ISIS referring to France as the central power of Europe?
- Why does France refuse to refer to them as ISIS?
- What does this have to do with the attacks in January?
- How is this going to affect our relationship with other Countries?
The point is we must go past the hashtags, filters, and easy share articles in order to create a working view of our own on what happened Friday night, and how it affects the world moving forward.
- By reading in-depth articles online
- Studying the history of ISIS and Islam
- Getting books that discuss the growth of terrorist attacks
- Following websites or newspapers from other Countries that share events from their perspective
So go ahead and keep using the #prayersforparis hashtag
And change your profile picture
Share those articles
Even write a post or two if you feel like it
But once the tears have dried up, understand you and I need to become students of whats happening in other cultures before it enters our own borders.