Why have the Hostages turned into Content for influencers?

One of the first hostages families I met was the mother of Or and Yagil who were held by Hamas.

Since I already directed The Light in the Darkness, the first videogame about the Holocaust done in a respectful and educational way, I knew that in order to bring attention to the hostages’ plight they had to be humanized by their families, seen as more than just photos.

Renana’s sons were both fans of videogames, one especially of Fortnite, so I decided to create with her, a kind of exhibit where she could tell us who her sons were, in a respectful way to also bring attention.

Then around a month later, I did one for Noa Argamani with her roommate, where I told him to tell the story of how they met and also, again, to humanize Noa rather than just the worst moments of her life being shown to the world.

Getting to know hostage families, it also became more apparent that what they wanted is a hostage deal, a message that was not being put out that much, because if we just bring awareness without a way for people to act then it’s not too useful. At times I have wondered if the hostages have just been used for content for social media influencers.

We are right now during a very dark time, where we don’t know how many hostages will survive, and we should all be pressuring everyone for a hostage ceasefire deal.

But instead what I am witnessing is social media influencers using the hostages as “content”. Like, for example, this influencer here who will remain unnamed, drinking coffee with a quote “Noa, and how she’s reported to be pregnant.” I look at this, and not only do I think it’s incredibly reckless to make the assumption based on Twitter rumors that she’s pregnant, but it’s also reduced her to just content for one’s social media without calling for a hostage deal which is what her dying mother wants. I hope her family never have to see those rumors about her being pregnant being pushed by influencers, because they have been through enough.

This is just one example of many. I find it hard to put into words that as a videogame director, I’ve done more to humanize and show that the hostages are not just content for likes, and part of me wonders what kind of damage we have done with influencers who did not put out a clear message that a Hostage Deal / Ceasefire is the only way to bring them back alive.

Are we a society that is that narcissistic that we let Liora who is dying beg Biden to help save Noa before she dies and that people instead of pushing out her message they are making content around her daughter without helping put pressure on all parties involved for a deal?

Part of me believes we have failed the hostages families, and I feel one of the biggest shames I have in my life that we might be too late, I hope it’s not the case every day.

Let’s change course, and “Bring Them Home to End the War” and let Liora see Noa before she dies, and so Yakov won’t end up alone without his wife and daughter.

Like Liora I am begging everyone to help her.

About the Author
Luc Bernard is a French Jewish video game creator and director. Known for his game The Light in the Darkness, which has received rave reviews across the globe, Luc is changing the way people view video games and Jewish history. With an insight on Jewish culture and a realism that has never been seen with in a game, The Light in the Darkness tells a moving story of a fictional family of Polish Jews caught up in the Holocaust in France. The game has gone on to be dubbed in different languages around the world. Luc’s most recent accomplishment is the inclusion of a Holocaust Museum into gaming juggernaut Epics Fortnite, changing the way people play and watch videogames. Born in France and raised in poverty between France and the UK by his grandmother, Luc knew there was more for himself and his Jewish culture. By 16 he was making games and had his sights set on the American Dream. He went from living in France to living in Los Angeles, pursuing his gaming career. Known as a thought leader and a disrupter in the space, Luc wanted to do things his way: he self-financed his passion, believing he had a duty to share the stories of the 6 million Jews and who they were as people, not just what their death was. Luc released the game for free — and the game has seen massive success. The Economist said, “It makes for sobering gameplay, though that’s the point. Bernard wanted to show that for Jews survival was just a matter of luck. He hopes that his creation will be used as a teaching resource for young people for years to come.” Luc is represented by UTA and lives in Los Angeles.
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