Over the years, the hashtag #PrayFor has become sort of a ‘trend’ in social media when something of horrible nature arises. I could not remember exactly where it all began, but I could think of #PrayForJapan as one of the early ones. At that time, we all prayed for the Tsunami that hit Japan that also impacted a nuclear reactor there. The whole world pray for them…
The internet follows suit and racing hard to come up with all kinds of “Pray For” hashtags, including Paris, MH370, Syria, Turkey… and even weird ones like Pray for Kanye or pray for (someone who has committed a crime and s/he admitted it but strangely I still believe s/he is innocent)!
What are you really praying for?
As the degree of care differs significantly from one pray to the other, some people began to question why less people care about one than the other… even the other event is of greater magnitude (e.g. Pray for Ankara and Pray for Paris). People then started internet debates / arguments/ fights / ridicules about this.
“Why did you care about this but not that?” is the question lightly thrown around these days with the ensuing hypocritical branding to the person being asked the question.
Personally, I think it’s because where people have been… A lot more people have been to NYC, London, and Paris than Ankara…
For example: I feel more pain in seeing WTC burned than the tube bombing in London or Charlie in Paris. Why? because I was there in the 100th floor 1 year prior to the attacks (or whatever you may call it). It was very scary to KNOW how it feels being trapped up there with nowhere to run!
Another example: there were more mass shootings in the United States than the number of days in 2015… If Obama only attended a few of the vigils/memorials/whatever-you-name-it, Does it mean he doesn’t care about the rest? I don’t think so…
Another example closer to home for me: People in Indonesia these days talk about elections that will happen NEXT YEAR in Jakarta. Even people who doesn’t have the rights to vote in Jakarta weigh in on his/her preferred candidates. Let’s compare it to a small city in East Java called Madiun. If there were something to happen in Madiun, I would make a very big deal about it. Because Madiun is closest to my heart. There might only be 0.001% people in this world who would know about Madiun. Will the people who cared about the election in Jakarta care about elections in Madiun equally? …or maybe the question should be: Do you even know where Madiun is?
‘Big Media’ – Pray for them?
Big Media is often the scapegoat in these cases. A lot of people cried foul about ‘big media’ that dedicated their ‘exclusive’ time to a handful of events. It might surprise a lot of you, but ‘big media’ is also run by human beings like us that also have personal care about things. So, if they are based in the United States, is it hypocritical that they chose to show the current presidential election than an event that happened 10,000 kms from home?
Some of them might care because they used to live there or they have relatives in that area… but the news they produced are also driven by public demand… your demand… of current news in the area that they operate in. So, if a lot of people want the news, they WILL get it.
The Sad Reality about what we pray for
Am I immune to the pain in other parts of this world? Sadly, maybe yes (unless you are politicians who cared about everything, this is the likely answer)… Why? Because I don’t really feel connected to certain parts of the world, especially those that I don’t have any ties with… and truthfully, this world is really a VERY BIG place to feel pain, you can literally feel it every second of your living life if you want to.
However, I still do pray for the safety of all people affected by the tragedies happening to this world and condemning those who did these awful things! I also pray that it doesn’t get worse!