CHENNAI: While the nation mourned film star Sridevi’s death, Syria’s humanitarian crisis sparked an unusually high interest among Tamils on social media. The outpouring of support was clearly visible on all social media platforms, where people of all ages condemned the ongoing violence and shared their helplessness and grief over the innocent lives lost.
Barring the day when Sridevi passed away, Google Trends data suggested that the number of news searches relating to Syria over the last seven days trumped the number of searches pertaining to the deceased megastar. Major cities such as Chennai, Tiruchy and Coimbatore were not the ones showing maximum interest in the Syrian crisis. It was the smaller towns and villages such as Thirumudivakkam, Mayileripalayam, Vandavasi, Thirumalayampalayam and Muthugoundan Pudur that provided maximum traction.
“Yesterday they were talking about #SriDevi ma’ams legacy, and all of a sudden now they’re posing black marks. Why can’t media let it be? And why doesn’t media cover this massacre which is happening right now?” said one such tweet.
On WhatsApp, there were many forwards doing the rounds that urged users to change their display picture to a plain black image to show their condemnation of what was going on in Syria and to stand in support of the Syrian citizens.
From pictures of injured children with disfigured, bleeding faces to infants lying lifeless under piles of rubble and from pictures of helpless, distraught family members to rows of corpses, all are haunting reminders of the worst that human beings are capable of.
Hashtags like #SyriaIsBleeding, #SyriaCrisis, #SyriaWar, #PrayForSyria have been trending for the last couple of days. Many took to Twitter to express their discontent over the complete lack of coverage in the media of the humanitarian crisis. They drew parallels between the death of an actress being accorded so much importance and the lives of hundreds of others being given no screen time at all.
Interestingly, a lot of the outrage expressed about the Syrian crisis on Twitter are by various Tamil actors' fans accounts:
An Actress died...— ஷின்சான் தாரா (@Thara_Rifa) 26 February 2018
No one cares...#PrayForSyria
5 Even the numerous fake/fan accounts of Malayalam actress and Internet sensation Priya Prakash Varrier contributed their bit:
(With online desk inputs)