Pray for Humanity

Shocked and alone, I pretended to be dead for over an hour, lying among people who could see their loved ones motionless. Holding my breath, trying to not move, not cry – not giving those men the fear they longed to see. I was incredibly lucky to survive. But so many didn’t. The people who had been there for the exact same reasons as I – to have a fun Friday night were innocent. – Isobel Bowdery Source

I won’t talk about the terrible Friday night. I will talk about what happened after.

Do you remember 1999 and NATO aggression in Yugoslavia?

Unfortunately this is something that I read quite often on social media during previous weekend.

Yes, I remember March 24 1999 very clearly, I remember the fear I felt for my father who was the military officer, I actually have many memories from the following 78 days, even though I was only 9 years old back then.

So for all people who tried to make connection between NATO aggression 1999 and November 13 in Paris, I will share with you some of my conclusions, which are actually pure facts:

  • People who died in Paris on Friday night are guilty for what NATO did in Yugoslavia in 1999 as much as you are guilty for what happened in Srebrenica in 1995.
  • Saying “Why do you care at all for anyone in France” makes you completely blind and stupid, as much as stupid was anyone who supported NATO in 1999, so you joined them in sharing the same values, congratulations.
  • If you have some similar post on your Facebook Wall, I suggest you reading this.
  • There are between 70,000 and 100,000 people of Serbian descent living in France (some of them live in Paris and sometimes they go out on Friday night).
  • A short lesson of history – The oldest documented possible contact between France and Serbia was the marriage of Stephen Uroš I of Serbia and Helen of Anjou. The first important contacts of French and Serbs came only in the 19th century when French travel writers first wrote about this Balkan country. In the 19th century, Karađorđe Petrović, leader of Serbian Revolution, sent a letter to Napoleon expressing his admiration, while in the French parliament, Victor Hugo made a speech asking France to assist Serbia and to protect the Serbian population from Ottoman crimes. Rapid development of bilateral relations followed, so that the people in Serbia saw a great new friend in “mighty France”, that could protect them from the Ottomans and Habsburgs. Relations between Serbia and France continued to improve until the First World War, when the “common struggle” against a common enemy reached its peak. Before the war France won the sympathy of the Serbian population by building railways, opening French Schools, a Consulate and a French Bank. Several Serbian kings from this period studied at universities in Paris, as well as large part of the future diplomats. Serbs gained a sense of Francophile because all these activities moved them away from the Ottoman and Habsburg empires. The Serbian-French alliance until 1914 even threatened the traditional inclination towards Russia. Great humanitarian and military assistance was sent by France to Serbia during the First World War, including assistance in the evacuation of children, civilians and military at the end of the war, and the support of French newspaper headlines. Even today, these actions remain deeply ingrained in the collective consciousness of a large number of Serbs.

Let’s show our empathy and change our profile pictures

When my people died on the streets of Beirut on November 12th, world leaders did not rise in condemnation. There were no statements expressing sympathy with the Lebanese people. There was no global outrage that innocent people whose only fault was being somewhere at the wrong place and time should never have to go that way or that their families should never be broken that way or that someone’s sect or political background should never be a hyphen before feeling horrified at how their corpses burned on cement. Obama did not issue a statement about how their death was a crime against humanity; after all what is humanity but a subjective term delineating the worth of the human being meant by it?

When my people died, no country bothered to lit up its landmarks in the colors of their flag. Even Facebook didn’t bother with making sure my people were marked safe, trivial as it may be. So here’s your Facebook safety check: we’ve, as of now, survived all of Beirut’s terrorist attacks. – From Beirut, This Is Paris: In A World That Doesn’t Care About Arab Lives

There is a psychological explanation for individual behavior which leads to making our profile picture colored Blue/White/Red.

Anthropologist Robin Dunbar suggests that the average person can only maintain about 150 primary, I-care-you-care relationships (Dunbar’s number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships). The simple reason for this is that we reach certain cognitive limits, and because there is simply not enough time for more without diffusing the quality of all relationships. Obviously, the number is fuzzy, because with changes in culture come changes in relationships, and because relationships themselves are difficult to define precisely because they are not quantifiable. But if we assume 150 as a hypothetical constant, variable across some range, then the range itself is a valid premise for a few conclusions.

My conclusion from that theory would be that you identify yourself with stories which could affect someone that you have social relationship with. That is exactly what makes people care more about Paris than Beirut, most probably they don’t know anyone from Beirut (unfortunately).

But…

There is a huge “but” in this story. You can change your profile picture, that is actually your private profile and I can choose whether I will support it or not.

However, if you are a global company (let’s say Facebook or Google/YouTube), or someone from the Government (let’s say the Serbian Government), you are not there to promote your personal opinion and for all of you each human life should be equal.

It means that you can’t color any building in Serbia Blue/White/Red, as you haven’t colored it Red/White/Green for Lebanese people.

You are there to Pray for Humanity, not to Pray for Paris.

Mahatma Gandhi Quote

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