I’ve watched with a growing sense of despair and horror pictures of dead Gaza children retweeted and shared across my timelines on both Twitter and Facebook these past few weeks. I understand the depth of feelings people have for the mounting death toll of children there, and the passion many have for the Palestinian cause. Children shouldn’t be victims in the crossfires of any conflict, be it Gaza, Syria, Iraq and the myriad other wars, but they are.
They should also not be doubly victimised and their bloodied bodies used in a propaganda battle across social media. Not for any cause no matter how noble or deserving. Would people retweet or share images of children or babies who die in accidents? Of course not. It would be deemed offensive and in poor taste. So why do so with pictures of dead Gaza children? After all, would you like such graphic images of your own dead child to be seen by millions of others?
I’m sorry but these pictures are not just shocking to view, but deeply hurtful to me. Every time I see one it reminds me of my own son Alan and the last time I saw his dead body in hospital. It’s a scene that is seared in my memory still almost 26 years later and reminds me of the terrible pain my family went through following his death. As a parent who has lost a child and carries the scars of a life lost, seeing those pictures is a reminder of a life unfulfilled and a pain that has never gone away.
I’m not a stranger to death. A badly burned boy died before my eyes in a hospital ward. It’s something you never forget. I’ve shared the grief of parents who have buried their children through suicide, accident and disease. It leaves an indelible mark on you.
There is no decency, sensitivity or compassion in disseminating images of dead children. You may feel by sharing them among your followers or friends you are furthering a cause, but in my eyes you’re not.
I’ve tried not to look at the broken bodies of those Gaza children, but still they flood my timelines. Sometimes I’ve had to take a break from Twitter or Facebook simply to avoid coming across them. In the name of humanity don’t abuse those dead children no matter how noble or righteous you believe your cause to be.
If you continue with your actions I’ll mute or unfollow you.