Controversy is not found in solidarity, it’s OK to have the French flag on your Facebook profile picture

Now and again I’ll write some life tripe on Arsebook that’s typically meaningless. However, in the wake of the Paris shootings and bombings I’ve seen more memes and articles being shared in reaction to people changing their profile avatars to show the blue, white and red of the French flag.


Articles which describe the action of adding the translucent French flag overlay to a profile photo as “self-congratulatory” and “being Western/ white biased”, and memes that say “changed my profile picture… terrorism solved!”. The last one I actually found quite humorous, but largely missing the point. Changing a profile picture in response to people who died in Paris on Friday night, does not ignore the bombings in Beirut or Turkey nor dismiss the concept of the US creation of ISIS. To point the finger at the change of profile pictures to the blue, white and red and ask ‘where was the profile change for Pakistan or Metrojet Flight 9268?’ is (and this is my personal opinion) a vomit of narrow-mindedness! For most, a profile pic change was in support of close friends and family who live in Paris. A gesture of empathy for one nation does not dismiss atrocities against other nations, sharing imagery of drowned migrant children is not a rejection of child abuse across the world. Change your profile pic or do not, both are fine. But to question compassion is the equivalent of saying “I was feeling bad before terrorism was sooo westerly, now everyone feels bad – terrorism is such a sell-out”… We are all blinded by the media, Facebook is not a good resource for world news and western reporting is governed by ‘trend’, we are all accountable for each other and all of us are accountable for the minority. Islam, Judaism, Christianity… religion is not the problem, barbaric acts against life do not belong in the 21st century, similarly as halal meat is just as unacceptable as the production of foie gras. The very definition of a minority is a smaller group opposed to a majority.

So, to question the expression of sorrow by others only strengthens the acts of horror by that minority, this my friends, is the effect of ‘psychological terrorism’. There is no award for sympathy, and ‘liking’ something on Facebook will not create change, we all feel the pang of fear and expressing it through inward disputes only creates fractures in civilised society. What is happening now is hugely complex, it’s not solved by one simple act, but standing united against abhorrent acts of violence is a piece of piss, we’re all in this shit together, be intelligent, be informed, do something, do nothing, whatever it is, just remember controversy is not found in solidarity.