We live in an era where the majority of the population shares everything they do in their lives with the whole world, from posting Instagram pictures of the lunch you just had and Snapchatting daily activities to sharing views and opinions or events on Twitter. Social media rules our lives, to a degree, and some people take it far too seriously.
I think that sitting behind a computer screen or smartphone definitely gives some people the courage to say and post things they wouldn’t say to a person’s face.
Sometimes – if not all the time – things are said and content is shared online to garner views or reactions, and generate a following. This can be done with no regard for who it might hurt and how it may affect their lives.
The marriage of an Emirati couple, who are members of the biking community Emirates Riders, is an example of just how cruel people can be. You may have read about them in The National: the couple recently celebrated their wedding by jumping on Harley-Davidsons and hitting the roads of the UAE.
The wedding was celebrated with other bikers from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, Jordan, Oman, Germany, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and a video of the celebration went viral. However, not everyone was pleased for the happy couple.
Some people took to social media to express their anger and disappointment at the way the couple celebrated their special day, suggesting that their behaviour contradicted UAE values and tradition. Some even posted death threats, saying they would slit their throats and run them over if they ever saw them on the street. The newly-weds were forced to seek refuge in their hotel room, unable to leave in fear of their safety.
The bride has taken the matter to the courts, taking more than 35 people to task over the threats and the insults she and her husband received online.
This is one of the examples of how what people write on their social media accounts is able to damage and hurt. It’s not acceptable, especially on an occasion that should be one of the happiest of a couple’s lives.
What gives these people the right to threaten others or say what they do isn’t acceptable? We shouldn’t be using social media to punish them or as a platform for bullying.
Aren’t the people who do this going against our values and tradition? This couple didn’t commit a crime in the eyes of the law by riding a motorbike on their wedding day. As members of Emirates Riders, they wanted to promote motorcycling in the city.
Everybody needs to think about what we post on social media and how we react, regardless of cultural beliefs or personal opinions.
Fawzeya Abdul Rahman works for the Abu Dhabi Government.
If you have a good story to tell or an interesting issue to debate, contact Melinda Healy on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Source: art & life