Another horrific nightmare struck us yesterday. When the story first broke we were all obsessively checking our news sources waiting to hear what exactly happened, how many were murdered, who was murdered, how many wounded, what happened to the terrorists, etc.
As the news quickly flooded in we started to see many graphic images of the slain Rabbis, blood stained tiles, sefarim ,siddurim, and talleisim. Many were quick to share these images which instantaneously went viral across the various social media outlets.
I do not believe that the proliferation of these images is proper; let me explain why.
I would first like to paraphrase the words of a friend’s Facebook status that express some of my objections.
These people never wanted to be on FB when alive, how much more so when they are dead. Let them rest in peace and their families mourn them in peace. Don’t expose them like you were someone cold enough not to care. I agree we need to spread the truth, but that doesn’t include such pictures that media outlets distribute more for their shock value than to touch. These images will only bring debilitating fear to Israeli citizens and publicity to the terrorists who are only too happy that their latest mission is all over Facebook, thus helping them accomplish their goal of letting the world know what they are capable of. I’m tired of seeing the big efforts of people trying (and failing) to convince the world that the Arabs are not the victims in the Middle East conflict. The world, or at least those who rule it, are not going to stop thinking what they think. Nothing you say or show will do it.
In addition, we are supposed to be an “Am Kadosh”, a holy nation. We should never mimic the behavior of our enemies with the excuse that if they do something we are entitled to do the same. The claim that since they post gratuitous pictures to gain the world’s sympathy, therefore we should do the same in order to get our message disseminated, is wrong. It’s disrespectful to those who were murdered and disrespectful to us as a nation.
We don’t need these sickening images in order to evoke outrage and emotions among our people. We have a full understanding of the terror and atrocities that we must deal with. We don’t need to be roused into an uproar over what took place. This is also a tactic of our enemies. They use such devices to provoke their people towards revenge, days of rage and more terror.
We are a moral nation with the ability to defend ourselves and to exact punishment on those responsible for such barbaric acts. The last thing we need is an overly emotionally enraged population which may lead, God forbid, to revenge attacks, such as the one which occurred this past summer in the Jerusalem forest.
Anyone with half a heart would be profoundly impacted upon hearing this horrific story. We don’t have to see the death scene to gain an intimate understanding of the event. Some say censoring is silencing; in this case it would be responsible reporting. One can convey the truth without graphic details, as in the case of a rape victim where we do not need to see the gory details in order to understand the horrors of the crime.
If we claim to care about these people we would make sure that sharing these images is in concert with the wishes of the families before they are strewn about irresponsibly on the internet. This has been done so fast that by the time the mourners are aware, it is far too late . They may then suffer insult to injury and we would be responsible for adding additional pain to their suffering.
Many people I admire and respect posted these images as well. I don’t doubt their intentions or question their moral integrity. I simply do not agree with this method. We need be more thoughtful, compassionate, and respectful of the mourners and their departed. We should continue to be elevated in our moral behavior and maintain our dignity as a people.