Over the past three weeks, social media has been flooded with all kinds of posts rebelling against the injustice happening in Palestine. From hashtags, to graphic videos of violence, all the way to empowered quotes eliciting that very injustice, anyone with a social media account was sure to be aware of what is going on. Unfortunately, however, this level of activism is both subtly and slowly dying out.
When talking about a certain topic becomes trendy or popular, its discussion is often exploited as a means of making a certain impression of ‘I care,’ rather than actually caring. Sure, it’s easy to share a post accompanied by an inspirational quote on your Instagram story, but when this story is self-serving rather than altruistic, its activism dies out as soon as its trendiness does too.
We have seen this happen with the Black Lives Matter movement. Following the death of George Floyd, black squares were posted everywhere. And, it goes without saying that this social media spread stimulated a lot of frustration and need for justice, but what happened to make its relevance lose its place? And, what is the importance of holding on to this relevance as best we can?
In view of the fact that such unending posts have provoked a lot of awareness, we must continue to share them. And this sharing does not end when enough awareness has been raised, but when meaningful action has been taken. A ceasefire surely is not the end of Palestinians’ injustice, and not even remotely close to it.
Whatever your privilege compels you to say, regardless of whether its driven by an act of showing-off rather than one of consciousness, it is still something that has been said. It is still something that will be read. It is still something that will be evoked. And it is still something that – one way or another – will have an impact on its listeners. Therefore, we must use our privilege to express ourselves for the right reasons, so that this expression sustains itself, even when it is no longer attractive to do so.
The Palestinian Lives Matter movement isn’t a social media trend. People are getting killed day in, and day out. Needless to say, this activism has triggered tremendous awareness regarding their oppression. This revolt, this anger, this rooted frustration, is crucial, and it is useful. And we must use it to the advantage of others, and never our own. It is understandable that the pain and suffering of Palestinians can never be understood by those of us on the outside, simply watching, and at best, acting. But, despite the fact that this level of pain can never truly be experienced by those who don’t suffer from it, we must, we absolutely must, continue to use our privilege to talk. We must continue to talk and speak out, not until our egos are fulfilled, not until our tongues are tired out, but until justice has been served. We have a long way to go, but those that are in it for the show will never enable us to get there.