|Tom Clark, a Henley hero|
Saturday, 12 September 2015
A few people I know are still a bit snotty about social media and just occasionally I can understand why. You run the risk of saying something silly on the spur of the moment and not being able to retract it. Or you give away more than you intended to because your settings weren't quite right. In the last few weeks, however, Facebook, Twitter and the like have showed us that they can be a powerful force for good. Thanks to messages and pictures shared on these networks, thousands of people have been galvanised into action to help the refugees trudging across Europe in search of a safe haven.
The deeply poignant photograph of the drowned Kurdish toddler Aylan Kurdi, lying face down in the surf as if he had just fallen asleep, was a turning point in the public perception of the refugee crisis. Aylan and his family had set off for Europe in search of a better life, after previously fleeing fighting in Syria. Up until this point, there had been a steady drip-feed of immigration articles and disturbing images on social media, including pictures of other drowned children washing up on beaches, but somehow Aylan tipped the balance. I know many of us found such images highly distressing, particularly within the context of our hokey, homely Facebook feeds, but all those 'shares' of a little boy on the beach meant we had to face up to the horrors going on in the world.