Beirut port explosion ‘disaster selfies’ on Instagram spark controversy

[9/2/2020 7:29:08 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Social media users have come under fire for posing in front of the site of the devastating Beirut blast as critics call out the latest example of “disaster tourism.”

The August 4 Beirut explosion killed as many as 220 people, injured 7,000 others, and destroyed 10,000 buildings. Yet recent posts on Instagram show people posing in front of the site of the explosion, which is a crime scene as authorities investigate the cause of the blast.

The posts have prompted criticism online, with Twitter user Rami Chakroun suggesting that taking a selfie in front of the port is the “last thing” visitors to Beirut should be thinking about.

Another user pointed out that social media users had been posting selfies in front of the ruined site at a time at which people were still missing from the blast, potentially trapped under the wreckage.

However, others took a different approach, with a local professor highlighting the selfie as a creative form of mourning.

“The Lebanese people realized that the explosion was so powerful, it shattered even time: before and after. Even if few only immortalize themselves on the bloody divide by a selfie or a photograph, many passed by silently bidding farewell to a Lebanon that, despite its self destructive tendencies, always exhibited an immortal, joyful and victorious spirit,” said Nadim Mohsen, Philosophy and Cultural Studies Professor at the Lebanese American University.

“Some choose to even smile while taking a selfie with the background of death and chaos. Mourning oneself could be surprisingly creative,” he told Al Arabiya English.

*Al Arabiya

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