Thoughts for the New Year
As excited as I feel – along with everyone else – about the idea that a New Year notions renewal, a clean slate, fresh beginnings and hope, there’s also the nagging feeling that of unresolved issues and the start of yet another year of new problems. 2015 has been off to a pretty bad start for liberals with the Charlie Hebdo Massacre making headlines everyday and of course, continuing racial tensions in the U.S.
Reactions to these issues have really gotten to me, yet again, with more and more Facebook friends changing their profile pictures to support to Je Suis Charlie, similar to the controversial ‘I Can’t Breathe’ t-shirts that swept across the U.S.
Let me preface with what I’m about to articulate by saying that I in no way believe that the public should remain silent about these attacks and should take active measures to protect the freedom of speech and counter system racial injustice.
What I would like to add to this debate is simply that before we fully submit to a campaign such as Je Suis Charlie, we should all first consider the discursive repercussions behind such a statement. How I view this is simply that while it’s integral to show support to the disadvantaged group after such a crisis, it’s also serving to further deepen divisions and create sides, whether religious or racial.
Speaking from a wholly idealistic point of view, there should be no sides but a unified effort to combat the problem. The victims of these events, as heartbreaking as events are, should be a catalyst for change. It’s not an empty identification with them that matters, but a respect for their humanity.
The crux of the debate for these issues can get lost in the mass, viral nature campaigns – to the point where we’re no longer defending the freedom of speech or condemning police brutality among racial minorities. Rather, we’re sensationalizing – and thus delegitimising – the suffering of the victims and simplifying the issue.
Like I said, I’m not dismissing the value behind these campaigns in any capacity. I just think that when faced with these deeply upsetting events, we should all try to take a step back and fully try to make sense of the world based on what we know and can discern. Only through that are we able to rationalise the next step.
What do you guys think? Please let me know your thoughts!