The Place of Confronting Images on Social Media and the Role They Play

I did a radio interview this morning on the Vision FM Radio Network across Australia with Robbo Robinson​ and Richelle Wenham​ on the appropriateness of posting on Social Media, images like the drowned little 3 year old Syrian refugee. (I know he may not have been a refugee but he has become synonymous with the crisis). At the time, I did wrestle whether to post it or not, but often in a crisis there becomes one image that puts a human face on what is happening. Reality is that 27,000 people: men, women and children have drowned in the Mediterranean in the last 15 years and it does seem at times that the enormity of that figure passes us by. In April 2015 for example, 700 people fleeing Libya drowned and this was just days after a boat carrying 400 people had also sunk, drowning all on board. Here is a link to the 700 people story.

So I think confronting images like the one of the little boy on a beach can bring a humanity to a crisis and can finally stir the world into action: – which it would appear has actually been the thing that has happened.

The interview did get me thinking though about other iconic images that have come to symbolize a tragedy or major event. Here are a few that I immediately thought of.

So what are your thoughts on posting confronting images on Social Media? For me I draw the line at anything that is gruesome, even the pic I have posted of the iconic image from the Oklahoma Bombing is border line.



Attacks in New York September 2001

Oklahoma Bombing and the rescue of an injured little girl.

Sudanese Drought

Vietnam War

Tiananmen Square Protests

Conflict in Gaza

Racial equality in the US.

Fleeing war torn Kosovo

The pain of separation when American Marines leave families and go and serve in Iraq and Afghanistan

New Orleans

Categories: Current Affairs, Social Justice Issues

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5 replies

  1. I understand the”shock” value of confronting pictures to mobilise people to action but I question the fact that a human being is deprived of dignity and respect. Would you like your child’s dead photo plastered all over the media? ( not you specifically Pete)

  2. I believe humanity must see the full brunt of its actions or lack there of from time to time. Dignity however is always the best policy.

  3. This is real life and we as Western people don’t see this type of conflict and atrocities in our
    country and everyday occurrences ……but we are now!! with the desperation that is becoming
    the norm from refugees and bombings in any Country now – we have to know and not bury
    our heads, because we can help.

  4. This is the reality of the world we live in. We need to see it to believe these things are really happening.

  5. Good summation Pete. I do think there is great need for an adjustment. I do believe there are groups looking to control and enslave the world of humanity. This is not new eg. Alexander, Napoleon, Hitler. They caused great heartache and loss of lives but things settled down afterwards although somewhat changed. We are told of HUGE national debts amounting to hundreds of trillions; To whom do we all owe such sums. Many things cannot continue without some cataclysm or adjustment. I believe the Bible and the book of Revelation. I believe Jesus is returning some time to establish a righteous government. Just when I don’t know. I’m ready for it now. Till then I will share the gospel to anyone who will lsiten

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