In the aftermath of the six terrorist attacks that left 129 dead in Paris Friday night, Facebook profile pictures across the world quickly began changing to images superimposed with blue, white, and red stripes — my entire newsfeed mimicked the French flag. This outpouring of universal support for the country grappling with terrorist attacks claimed by ISIS was encouraging, proving that the world stood with France and was disgusted by the attacks. However, Paris wasn't the only city with a terrorist attack, and the tragedy in Beirut was largely ignored. If the world wants to stand against violence and support the affected countries, Facebook users should show support for both Paris and Beirut.
Though I don't typically use the Facebook photo filters, like the similar rainbow flag tool that commemorated gay marriage becoming legal, I think they're a cool way for people everywhere to stand behind an issue and a group of people. There's absolutely nothing wrong with voicing your opinions on social media through words or pictures. The problem with the French flag filter is that it prioritizes the attacks in Paris over those in Beirut, just like the safety check that Facebook initiated after the assaults in Paris, but not Beirut. Although the bombing in Beirut took less lives than the Paris attacks, there were still more than 40 people killed by suicide bombers in the Lebanese capital Thursday, which constitutes a pretty violent assault.
The Islamic State has harmed multiple countries recently, not to mention the entire regions currently controlled by the militant group, and as extreme acts of violence happen across the globe, it's important that America doesn't solely focus on incidents in other western countries. This is a global problem that needs global support. Funneling all the attention, help, and love toward a specific incident over others sends the message that some lives are more valuable than others. Yes, America should care about the French and other lives lost in Paris, but the country must also care about the Lebanese lives lost, and the lives lost in all parts of the world.
It may not seem like a simple Facebook profile picture change has all these implications, but it does when done on a large scale. This is all to say that if you want to show support for victims of last week's terrorist attacks, it's best to do so for both France and Lebanon.
Since Facebook only offered a French flag filter, altering your photo to reflect both nations' flags requires some additional effort. With the LunaPic tool, you can superimpose two countries' flags onto a photo fairly easily. First, select one of the countries you want to use (either France or Lebanon). Then, upload your photo and click "show unity with two flags," which lets you to choose the second country. The site then magically superimposes your image with half of each flag, allowing you to simultaneously show support for Paris and Beirut.
The French Facebook photo tool was meant to show that people stand with Paris, but it can be co-opted to show that terrorism is unacceptable anywhere it happens. Beirut deserves the same support Paris received.
Image: Lauren Holter/Bustle (1); LunaPic (1)