It’s not that I don’t care.
It’s not that I wasn’t scrolling through my feed on Friday night with a growing sense of dread…Explosions in Paris, no details. Shooting, no details, also in Paris. Suspected hostage situation at a rock concert in Paris, no details. I turned off twitter knowing something grave was happening, that around 60 people had died, and thanking my lucky, lucky stars that I had my family safe around me.
It’s not that I wasn’t horrified on Saturday morning when, on that first bleary scroll through the morning’s news it became apparent that Friday night’s events were even worse than it had seemed, with around 120 dead. By the end of the day that figure had risen to 128; I believe it’s now 132.
It’s not that I didn’t want to show my respect for the victims, caught up in something beyond their control, and beyond most of our comprehension.
It’s not that I didn’t want to tell the world ‘I stand against this horror’.
It’s not for any of those reasons that I chose not to set my Facebook profile to the Tricolore.
I nearly did, actually. I had a moment of thinking I should do it, because everyone else had, and because I didn’t want to look like I didn’t care. But then, as a twitter friend so rightly said, would I be doing it for me, or for them?
I do care. I do care about the lives lost, the lives ruined, the children who will grow up without parents, the parents who will live their lives out having had to bury their kids. I care horribly about the fact that this is far from the end of the story, and that there will be more deaths, and that short of actually wrapping them in cotton wool, I can’t protect my kids from any of it. I care that every day, EVERY DAY, brings news of people’s lives ruined, torn apart, by atrocities both man made and natural.
All of those lives matter. ALL of them. Not just the ones we share a common bond with, through geography, or language, or colour, or creed. Not just the ones in a city we love to visit. Not just the ones that are near to us, near enough to remind us that it could be us, our kids, our friends, next time.
All lives matter. But by changing my profile picture on Saturday, I felt I would be subscribing to the narrative that some lives matter more. And that can’t be right.