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23rd Mar 2017

London: Why was the indignity of the victims’ suffering plastered on social media?

Amanda Cassidy

Their final moments were uploaded to social media for the world to gawk at.

Many of their families would have seen the victims of the London attacks bleeding and dying before they even realised it was their cousin, their aunt, their son.

Yesterday in Westminster, five people lost their lives, dozens were injured, severely – but we know this because we live in an age of uncensored imagery which worms its way to social media before it can be verified, filtered and contextualised.

Watching strangers dying in real time. Glued to our feed showing the injured writhing in pain – the wonders of technology.

Some might say that these stark images serve to jolt us to the awful reality of what is happening around us, a way of shocking people into action. It could also help authorities piece together what really happened and how it happened in order to prevent similar attacks happening again.

But when it starts to get nasty you have to wonder about the misplaced frustration of many online social media users.

Take this photo uploaded to twitter yesterday.

Could you guess why this snap would cause outrage?

I see concerned bystanders, people trying to help and others looking shocked, distressed and probably wondering if their own loved ones are safe. Perhaps hurrying by out of fear and panic?

Not the internet at large.

The woman in the picture who is wearing a headscarf was slammed across social media for showing apparent “indifference” to a stricken victim of the attacks.

One user commented:

“Muslim woman pays no mind to the terror attack, casually walks by a dying man while checking phone” along with the hashtags #PrayforLondon and #BanIslam.

Do they really think she is just playing candy crush or checking her emails? Why didn’t they ask the same question of the man with his hands in his pockets?

Taking an image out of context and using it for the purpose of propaganda in the midst of a horrific attack is just beyond comprehension.

Similarly, a man was criticised for taking a selfie in front of the commotion outside Parliament yesterday. Perhaps he wished to have evidence that he was part of history unfolding.  Maybe he got caught up in the drama?  Or, most probably, he is simply a scumbag. But none of that really matters. What all this demonstrates is that people have a plethora of misplaced frustration and anger after such a senseless attack.

But there is no place for lazy bones social commentary that serves no purpose – this week a wife will bury a husband, two little girls will ask for their mama and a grown-up sister will have to identify her younger brother’s body.

And if you clicked on those images of people’s dying moments, maybe you are just as guilty as those who snapped them…

(Feature image via YouTube)