What Do We Grieve?

Maybe we’re just too overwhelmed by all the tragedy in the world, that we can only choose to grieve what the media tells us to grieve.

My Newsfeed is a splash of French flags. Every major news outlet is sending out updates on identified victims, graphs, testimonials, and what world leaders are saying.

But this sort of thing happens every day. Facebook didn’t make it possible for users to change their profile pics to the flag of Lebanon. There was no “safety check” when Beirut was attacked. I’ve heard people call the Paris attack “France’s 9/11,” and that’s definitely true in the sense it is an attack in a country where this sort of thing doesn’t happen all the time. Is that why we’re told to care so much? Is it not really about the fact people died? Is it about people dying in a Western city that’s known in America for love, culture, and tourism, while Middle Eastern countries are portrayed as inherently bloody and violent, where life is taken so frequently our emotions can’t keep up? What are we being told to grieve, exactly? People? Or only certain people?

I can’t change my profile picture to France’s colors. I’m not going to hold it against anyone who does or accuse them of not caring about other victims of terror, but for me, I don’t want to immerse myself any further in the idea that this is the only tragedy going on right now. The media is already doing that for me.


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