On last Friday night, a series of coordinated attacks struck France capital, leaving 120 people dead and over 100 wounded. The attack hit popular nightspots – including a stadium and concert hall -- at a time when innocent civilians were in the weekend mood, relaxing and enjoying themselves with families and friends. It occurred in such a horrific and unprecedented manner that it became the worst deadly attack in France since WWII.
The Paris attack has drawn fierce condemnation from world leaders, and sparked outrage from the global community. The slaughter has also seen a strong reaction in social media. Solidarity and support from the around world poured in through Facebook, Twitter and WeChat. In Paris, local residents made the greatest efforts to support their follow citizens as random acts of kindness appeared throughout the city.
On the night of the attack, the state of emergency was declared and Metro Lines were shutdown, leaving many people scrambling to find safety. Taxi drivers across Paris switched off their meters, as they transfer people that are stuck in bars and restaurants to safe locations. Parisians also offer their homes to those stranded, some even outreached through social media to those who were unable to reach home.
Many people used hashtag (#OpenDoor) in twitter trying to help:
“If someone need I have beds in Boulogne feel free to come.”
One of my college friend lives in Paris. She posted this on WeChat:
“The response of so many people in Paris: opening doors to strangers, offering free gifts; small acts of heroism, for every one of them.”
The horrible event in Paris had left a young Irish girl desperately wanting to fly home. When she arrived at the airport to pay for her parking at the machine, she found a note attached to a €10:
“It’s great to have you home and have this parking stay on us!”
But tragedy does not just bring the best but also the worse in us. As social media helped spread the virtual gifts of kindness and compassion, it has also opened a floodgate of posts that reveal anti-immigration sentiment and a strong resentment to the entire Muslim community. According to media report, some European right wingers used the tragedy to attack the Muslims, and to capitalize it for political gain.
“The mass immigration machine churns on… How is this making life better for us? Can we all agree that no more Muslim immigration?”
“No mention by President Obama of the Islamic nature of the attacks. That would be offensive,”
Other posts were blaming the victims, laying bare the dark side of humanity. One of the WeChat posts says:
“Why French people are always under attack? Is it because they are weak womanish fools? “
“Yeah, French men act like a sissy… They were all losers.”
But the negative voices were quickly disappeared and replaced with posts that characterize French people as romantic and worry-free:
“They really know how to enjoy life and leave worries of death behind.”
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