December 20, 2012

The problem with Facebook Activism and Arm chair Critiques !

I wonder where are all the Iam Anna’s are that went out to revolutionise democracy overnight through Facebook and twitter. Anna Hazare was the closest thing to a revolution our generation was witness to, which started out as an apolitical movement fighting corruption, went on to demand legislation for multiple causes, broke up to form political parties and in the end all that remained was the unending messages we keep receiving at odd times to assemble at locations to fight for their vested interests. 

  Facebook activism is so short-lived, a new issue comes up the old one dies down silently. You have the false feeling of having voiced your thoughts and contributed to a cause with a few clicks and fewer words. A few weeks ago my Facebook wall was flooded with support for Palestinian’s and criticism towards the inhuman aggression happening in Gaza, now I wonder where it all disappeared. Iam pretty sure the lives of Palestinians haven’t had any marked difference nor has  Israel  adopted more peaceful ways, but my friend who called for retaliation is no more interested in the cause or does not have a clue what is happening out there anymore!

              I agree that what happened to the young lady on the bus was gruesome, and your concerns and feelings towards it are from the deepest of your hearts. But what I don’t understand is whether clicking likes, sharing photos and expressing distress through Facebook posts would help the cause. Then you would ask me, "should we stay silent to such inhuman crimes?", "what if someone you know, or someone close to you have to go through such a thing?"," Is it by remaining silent that I should express my grief?” I agree, we can’t be serial activists, we can’t fight all the injustice in the world, and we can’t express solidarity against all that is going wrong out there. There are people who have  spend a lifetime fighting for a cause, spending  time on the ground, raising awareness, consolidating opinion, pushing for legislation, fighting causes in courts, filing RTI's to expose wrong doings, filing Public interest litigation, etc.- This my friend is true activism, if you are really distressed with what happened, then start an NGO that gives support to rape victims, volunteer for an existing NGO, if you can’t spare time donate money to such organisation that does good deeds in your area of concern. Organise a donation drive, a charity dinner, get together your friends and make a plan to get involved. It would be much more gratifying then clicking away and sitting and ridiculing the society and the system. 
Facebook is a threat to civic participation and social activism, as none of us take an initiative or support in actual action on the field any more. We all are left with a false sense of relief when we express our voice on a social network

           Facebook has become a version of spam mail we all blocked years back, spreading conspiracies, promising to pay money for each share, religious propaganda etc. It is much worse than spam mails; I could block those mails easily. Yes I could block these too, but then I end up offending a dear friend or get branded as cold hearted, anti-religious, anti-Semitic or something even worse. I am not interested in another man’s faith, and neither would I force anyone to understand why my god is better. These things are meant to be personal, and should remain so in the absolute sense. It is disturbing to see how religion is becoming a moving force in strengthening friendships and polarising certain others. Please keep me out of random photographs of clouds, trees etc.  Arranged like names of gods, posts which demand to be shared unless I am willing to invite wrath of god upon me, patients on hospital beds demanding to be liked to be rewarded money from websites and companies etc.  As far as I know iam sane, iam secular, nationalistic and patriotic to a great extent and don’t want to be certified by a social network for any of these.  

I do not intend to preach, but if you are seriously interested in getting involved may be try being part of any of these organisations listed below.  All you need is Google, to search for NGO's like these and iam sure there are more out there than what I have listed. 


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