What happened when I put a flag on my profilepic

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For more than one and a half day I had a flag over my profile pic. Me! The one who’s always sceptical as soon as someone pastes a flag on his pic. Me! The one who’s protesting loudly as soon as the masses – almost without thinking – vocate their solidarity with something that’s almost none of their business. But I did it, and I’m happy with it!

For more than one and a half day I had a flag on my profile pic. After that I decided it was enough. It lasted longer than planned anyway. Since I intended to do it only one day, but I got kindof carried away.

Shared 3 times
In those one and a half day I recieved 44 likes (never had so many likes on my profile pic in this little time), was my pic shared 3 times (strange, who’s sharing a profile pic?) and recieved several indignant comments.

Indignant comments
The latter anyway wasn’t strange. Because, while the whole of Europe (and the rest of the Western world) pasted the French flag on their pics, I pasted the Nigerian on it. It required a bit more effort though. The French flag could be gained in one single click. To gain the Nigerian flag I had to search for one, play with an app and upload it in classical manner.

2000 forgotten deaths
But I was happy to do it. Of course I didn’t think of the things happening in France as no big deal. But I heard of another drama almost at the same time. And I thought it a bloody shame that I myself, and with me almost everyone in Western world, lived on, without caring.

At January third 2015 the terrorists of Boko Haram murdered 2000 people. 2000! At once! That’s about 15 times more than the number of people killed in Paris during the attacks of November fifteenth. 2000 people! And I missed, or at least completely forgot.

Thinking of Baga
So, while everyone in the Western world was thinking of the people in Paris, I was all of a sudden thinking of those poor Nigerians, who didn’t ask to be slaughtered as well. And while the images and stories from the Parisian Bataclan are filling the internet, I’m trying to answer the question how it must have been in Baga. I simply couldn’t picture it. But in the end 2000 people dying in one single attack is an awful lot.

“I want a Nigerian flag”
And so it happened that I was crying to the singer Elleni Kempson (who pointed me to the Nigerian story): “I want a Nigerian flag”. And instantly I forgot all of my objections against that Facebook-flags-thing.

Moreover: as soon as my picture was finished, I liked it: my head between those two green stripes, with in the right corner below a mourning text.

Juncture in stead of protest
And as soon as everything was online, I started to like it even more: my Nigerian green-white-green between all that French blue-white-red. Suddenly I wasn’t protesting anymore against the almost thoughtless massality of the single click (it was before, when I didn’t change my picture). Instead it became an addition: Paris as an infrangible part of all the bad things happening in this world.

Every murder is a drama
Because that’s what it is: every murder is bad and every massacre a drama. The numbers don’t matter, nor do the locations. It plainly is bad. For a long time we thought these kinds of dramas would keep missing Europe. That would be nice. But unfortunately Europe is as much sharing in the evil that is scaring this world as are Nigeria, Jordan or Syria.

Connected in mourning
Do we have to be happy with that… well… no, but while following the news… well… the Facebook-flag-lovers are up to an important future. And me? Well… maybe I’ll make another alternative to a flag. Not out of protest against the massality, but to emphasize our worldwide connectedness in mourning.

And that maybe is, under these circumstances, the single most beautiful thing to do: mourning together, worldwide.


As I’m not a native speaker, but do value correct English, I’d appreciate any corrections on language. Please type them in the comments box below and I’ll make the appropriate changes.