Sunday, November 15, 2015

Why the world is watching Paris, not Beruit

Why the World is Watching Paris, not Beruit

Paris, all over the media. Tragedy, hopelessness, evil - words used to describe the attack on Paris Friday night. Saturday, the day after, Facebook lights up with profile pictures being covered by the Parisian flag. “Let’s show the Parisian people we support them.” 129.

Beruit, no where on the media. Common, normal, forgettable - words associated with the attack on Beruit Lebanon Thursday. Friday, the day after, Facebook lights up with nothing. No Lebanese flags, no “let’s show the Lebanese people we support them.” 43.

So we are clear - not all Muslims are terrorists

But it isn’t because the Parisian people are white, and it isn’t because more people died in Paris. It’s because we don’t see Lebanon. It has become void in our eyes of compassion, concern, and care. We have disassociated them from their right to life. It is because we have gathered as a nation to become compassionate about the things the world tells us to be compassionate about. Meanwhile halfway across the world there are 10 countries TEN countries in which occurrences like the one in Paris are a DAILY fear - Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Nigeria, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

So, what? Is it wrong to cover your Facebook photo with the Parisian flag? No. Is it wrong to be unaware of the 10 other countries facing these realities daily? Yes. Is it wrong to not have the same compassion towards Middle Eastern people as we do towards white people? Yes.

Wael Hamzeh/European Pressphoto Agency

We as human beings are demanding equality across the world, but the greatest fight for equality is in our minds, because while people are dying all over the world we are habitually checking our phones, not reflecting on the images we see. If we see a situation being raised up on the tv, while we know something else in the world is going on just like it but isn’t being covered, what could your discernment suggest?

  1. It isn’t as important
  2. The media wants us to believe it isn’t as important
  3. We don’t believe it is as important

We don't believe it is as important, but it is not because of the media. The media is driven by our response to it. In the same way Facebook posts and Instagram posts are driven by our response to them. If a post gets a certain amount of likes it gets ‘promoted’ so-to-speak. So it is with our response to the News Media. It feeds our longing to be in the know. When we find interest in something it keeps getting repeated over and over again. It massages our appetite to know what’s going on in the world, by not really telling us what’s going on in the world. But it isn’t the media’s fault. It is our own fault.

We feed ourselves with images all day long of laughable things, horrible things, and anguishing things. They fail to fill our minds with compassion for the world. They numb us to reality, and sink us deep into the pit of their standard of justice.

Because it isn’t right people are dying. Period. 

Bilal Hussein/Associated Press

Marshall McLuhan said it best, “we have allowed the media to “massage” us into an unreflective and undiscriminating cultural consumption.” But let us not be so assuming, it is not the media’s fault. We have ALLOWED the media. 

We must turn off our media. We must love our neighbors (Mark 12:31). We must pray continually (1 Thess. 5:17). We must discern (Romans 12:2). We must turn to our international brothers and sisters and invite them into our homes. What has happened in Paris and Beruit should wake us up to the reality that we are all humans, and none of us are exempt from death. This, death, is the great equalizer. We all meet at the same fork in the road. And the world will mourn the loss of those in Paris, and those in Beruit, and let it be done. We should mourn the wrongness of death, and we should pray for the right-ness of life. We should participate in this rightness by not feeding ourselves images made by man. We should reach out to refugees, dine with them and listen to the stories of things going on in their countries. We should educate ourselves by having personal conversations with those who lost loved ones in Paris and Beruit. And we should hope (2 Cor. 4:16).

We should long for the return of our King, the redemption of this world, and wrong made right.