Insensitivity via social media must be tamed


SOME cynics propose that human beings and animals should swap habitats – the former should relocate to jungles and the latter should shift to urban centres and villages.

Cynicism is largely dismissed as mischievous, but in some cases, it is a helpful transmission channel for important messages. Animals, considered by many to be wild and cruel, conduct themselves in the manner dictated by nature, on aspects like which other animals they should hunt for food.

They also strictly observe a social culture that governs their behaviour and activities, on aspects like family cohesion and protection. Yet, amongst human beings – presumably superior creatures of God - are those who behave in ways characterised as animalistic or beastly.

Yet, many bush, forest, jungle and marine creatures are relatively more civilised. The recent bus accident in Arusha in which 32 pupils and three adults perished, exposed some aspects of humanity’s dark side.

Some of the photographs that were posted on social media sites were in very bad taste, including the one purported to depict the group of children (amongst whom were the casualties), taken before they embarked on the ill-fated trip !

The sites periodically host photographs of the bodies of accident victims, even before they have been covered to conceal their faces, as universal tradition dictates.

Photographs have been publicised, too, of seriously injured people being pulled from the wreckage of vehicles at accident scenes. It is standard practice, nowadays, for co-ordinators of funerals to bar non-authorised individuals to take photographs during last respect sessions.

This was prompted by the tendency of insensitive and idiotic characters to give prominent focus to the faces of the deceased lying in coffins and circulating them, as though they are hot cake items.

In the case of the horrific Arusha accident, false information was also circulated to the effect that some of the injured pupils who had been receiving treatment in hospital had died. The current, country-wide torrential rains have been exploited as an opportunity for whetting negative social media appetites.

Save for rational reportage by the mainstream media, amateurs driven by excitement and pursuit of heroism as news breakers, post video clips that sensationally depict the misery of the sufferers.

Highlights include submerged houses, floating household items and people wading in ponds, desperately trying to salvage whatever they can.

This is part of the crisis of moral, ethical and cultural decay that all stakeholders must move fast to stem.

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