Scarred for life

19 November 2018 | Opinion

Otis Finck - The photo posted on social media and circulated on WhatsApp groups of a man who allegedly killed his girlfriend and then committed suicide by hanging himself made me realise how far we have become removed from our very uniquely owned human emotions.

For those who don't know: It is a standing rule among journalists that photos of such nature do not get published and the names of the accused persons in criminal cases not revealed before they have appeared in court. The names of the deceased are also not made public unless the next of kin have been informed.

All this was changed with the blink of an eye when social media became flooded with the gruesome photos well before the relatives were informed of what had actually happened. How insensitive could one get?

Who took this photos and for what purpose, I wondered. Who was responsible for sharing these images and for what reason was this done?

By the look of things, machines are taking over and feelings hardly matter any more or less in these modern technological advanced times, I thought.

We are faceless phone numbers, residing at IP addresses, living on emotionless detached social media platforms thriving on data and chasing sensation for the sake of likes. How low have we stooped for what we thought was a scoop?

We now communicate by punching expressionless dialogues with our fingers. Instead of saying it out loud we prefer emoticons. We read, write messages and hardly speak unless we have to.

Can it be that we are being so conditioned and bombarded with horrific images that some of us have become immune? Isn't the capability to distinguish between right and wrong and the capability to decide, what differentiates us in essence from animals?

Some expressed shock about the tragic saga which resulted in the loss of two lives. Many justified the posting of the images while others reverted to name calling and the blame game. Others even went so far as to judge the deceased without having any consideration for the innocent family members he left behind.

To add more insult, the photo posting blunder was justified and turned into a racial issue. Then followed the “Momberg” moments and statements such as stick to your own kind and things like this won't happen became a stark reminder of the deep divides that still exist within the mindsets of some Namibians.

In the end I dismally failed to understand how the Ovaherero genocide orchestrated by German colonial forces can be used as a reason for publishing gruesome pictures. How is this comparable to the brutal murder of a woman and senseless suicide of a young man? The only things in common here are the deep scars these incidents left.

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