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The Blue & Gray Press | August 21, 2019

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Staff Ed: Paris crisis spurs social media frenzy

Staff Ed: Paris crisis spurs social media frenzy


We have lived another weekend unscathed by the atrocities ISIS has inflicted. Beginning Thursday and thankfully ending on Saturday, of this past weekend, a total of 170 innocent lives were lost.

A double suicide bombing on Thursday, Nov. 12, plagued Beirut, Lebanon where 40 civilians were killed by two suicide terrorists. While the following Friday, Paris fell victim to seven terrorist attackers who claimed the lives of 129 people as reported by the New York Times.

At 6 p.m. on Friday UMW students were going about their business as usual until we logged onto our social media, a before dinner, unwinding activity, to find our newsfeed stacked with the latest updates of the attacks in Paris, France.

We saw a slew of friends utilize Facebook’s French flag filtered profile picture homage along with the Safety Check tool, which Facebook has only activated for natural disasters, that allowed users to alert their loved ones concerning their safety in France. Two air strikes have been conducted by the French Government, as French president Francois

Hollande declared Friday’s attacks “acts of war,” by ISIS. While on Saturday morning ISIS claimed responsibility of both the French and Lebanese attacks. What we may not have realized Friday, while prayers for the French were pleaded for and while concert goers held their breath under dead bodies, is that this is an every-day experience for those in Syria and Lebanon. That is why millions of refugees are fleeing Syria.

By the time the second bomb went off in France, Twitter was slammed with updates of the carnage. While Beirut was left with nothing but rubble to pick through with no help from their corrupt government. Not to mention that now, those countries in proximity to Syria, such as Lebanon, may be subject to further attacks by the French military.

It is important to realize that the group that the French, American and Russian forces are seeking to combat, ISIS, is wreaking havoc in its own territory, and is not explicitly restricted to attacks on the west.

Social media tends to desensitize us to the rest of the world, but it should be used to gain knowledge and information. After the terrorist attacks correlated by ISIS made their mark and we filtered our pictures to line our faces with red white and blue stripes to show our “solidarity” we are left to realize that nothing we click gives any real support.

We at the Blue & Gray Press look to these events with a heavy heart. But we seek to inform our readers to look at the bigger picture, that though it is tragic what happened in France last Friday, it is a reality for many in Syria and other Middle Eastern states. Moreover, it has been for years throughout the Syrian Civil War and the War on Iraq.