The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians reignited and social media platforms are full of posts about the unequal war and the colonial history of the state of Israel as a settler colony. I also shared a post on my Instagram with stills from the documentary “Born in Gaza” by Italian-Argentinian war correspondent, writer and filmmaker Hernan Zin. He filmed the devastating effect the conflict has on the children of Gaza and it made me realize that we don’t need to fully understand issues on a political or historical level to know that something is wrong.
Our Western rational minds make us forget our humanity
I guess this is also an important aspect of decolonizing our minds: in The West our rational minds are valued more than our emotional feelings. And even though that’s often a good thing – it’s hard to find a common ground in emotions -, it also makes us sometimes forget what is really important. I would even say in this particular issue, it makes us forget our humanity.
Back to social media where I’m less active since I caught Covid-19 and didn’t have the energy to consume the daily (mostly) negative triggers online. Since I slowly go back to watching the videos and reading the posts, I’ve been noticing more than before how much we condemn each other on these platforms. A popular post that goes viral at the moment shows a picture of a white Western woman with the text:
“Woman with BLM in her bio unsure where she stands on ethnic cleansing in Palestine”.
Even though I agree that the Black Lives Matter movement can’t be seen separate from what The West is doing to the Palestinians, this kind of condemnation amongst each other leaves out an even bigger context where we’re all part of. And that’s the current capitalistic system that is ruling our globe and putting profit over people.
I don’t have enough knowledge about alternative capitalistic approaches and I won’t call myself a communist which seems to be popular now, I just want to emphasize that the discussions we’re having often don’t touch the roots of the issue.
We condemn each other without understanding the bigger context
One of the subscribers to my newsletter sent me a video the other day with the title “Is white privilege real?” and asked my opinion about it. The video shows a white American reporter and Mexican-American cameraman asking random people from different racial backgrounds if white privilege exists. And the answers to that question show the result of us condemning each other on social media without understanding the bigger context.
Because systemic racism isn’t just about skin colour. A lot of white people are found to be in such bad socio economic situations that even though white privilege still applies to them in some ways, their context is much more complex than that. And let’s not forget that when Black Americans leave the country to, for example, live a remote life in Bali, they are just as well products of the system of whiteness that transfer their lifestyle as neo colonists in the Indonesian archipelago.
Another aspect to this social media behavior is the fact that a company like Instagram itself has arisen from a capitalistic foundation and an – especially in the beginning – full on white male staff. The algorithms are built out of systemic racism and the documentary “Coded Bias” (Netflix) shows us the results of that. But nowadays, as long as we can use the platform to condemn others, we don’t seem to care about the bigger picture.
And then there is another aspect that I want to highlight: as long as you are putting more energy in condemning others, it means your ego is still very big. Once we look at ourselves and our own actions in daily life critically, we will learn to understand that we’re all tied into a complex reality where simple solutions don’t exist in the long term.
Use your energy to support initiatives for the long term
Does it mean we shouldn’t call out injustice on our social media accounts? No. It just means that together with using our energy to daily post our outrage and condemning others, we should also save some of that same energy to (financially) support people who’ve been saying this for a long time already and built important platforms to read more in-depth about solutions for the future. Look up the initiatives that support the Palestinian cause or contribute to an independent media platform like Mondoweiss (thanks to another subscriber who sent me that).
And to end this piece on a positive note, there definitely is content being shared that gives a more nuanced perspective, for example this Tik Tok video showing a short interview with an orthodox Jewish man condemning the actions of Israel.
“We are embarrassed as jews about what is happening at the moment”,
he says with a Palestinian flag around his neck.
That’s the content we need to surprise each other and understand that our world isn’t Black vs White.