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When helping the displaced, leave the camera at home:

Let us respect the dignity of the victims of the ongoing ethnic conflict

by Editorial Team
0 comment 3 minutes read
When helping the displaced, leave the camera at home:

In the world where social media platforms dominate our daily lives, the act of helping the less fortunate has taken on a new dimension. With the click of a button, individuals can instantly share their charitable deeds with the world, garnering likes, comments, and shares. However, amidst this digital age of philanthropy, there arises a poignant question: should the camera have a place when aiding the poor?
This question becomes particularly relevant in the context of some organizations and individuals who raise funds for the displaced people in the ongoing conflict while simultaneously running social media campaigns showcasing their efforts to help the poor. While the intention behind such actions may be to raise awareness and inspire others to contribute, it begs the question of whether the act of helping should be accompanied by the spectacle of social media exposure.
Additionally, there’s the issue of what’s known as “poverty porn.” This term describes the exploitation of people living in poverty for entertainment purposes, often through media such as documentaries, films, or photographs. Poverty porn portrays impoverished individuals or communities in a sensationalized or dehumanizing manner, focusing solely on their suffering and struggles without context or respect for their dignity. This portrayal can perpetuate stereotypes, reinforce unequal power dynamics, and objectify those experiencing poverty, all while serving to shock or evoke pity in the audience.
Critics argue that poverty porn often overlooks systemic issues and fails to offer meaningful solutions, instead treating poverty as a form of entertainment or spectacle. This exploitation of human suffering for voyeuristic purposes is not only ethically questionable but also counterproductive to efforts aimed at addressing the root causes of poverty and inequality.
In Manipur, as in many other regions, the culture of showcasing philanthropic deeds on social media has become increasingly prevalent. Some individuals or groups prioritize the appearance of altruism over substantive support, with social media handles dedicated solely to such causes emerging. This trend can be traced back to politicians and aspiring candidates using social media to highlight their efforts in helping the public during crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these individuals post numerous pictures and videos showcasing their purported acts of kindness, effectively merging activism with social media visibility. Now, given the upcoming Lok Sabha election, we can expect that some candidates might just go around doing similar things.
However, this trend has led to a shift in the focus of humanitarian efforts, with some prioritizing attention and recognition online over genuinely assisting those in need. This not only diminishes the authenticity of the aid provided but also detracts from addressing the underlying issues faced by displaced populations who are now living relief camps due to the ongoing conflict.
“When helping the poor, leave the camera at home” should be the mantra since the essence of altruism lies not in the public display of one’s deeds but in the genuine compassion and empathy extended to those in need. It’s crucial to recognize and prioritize meaningful support for those affected by poverty, displacement, and other forms of adversity, rather than indulging in performative gestures solely for social media validation.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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