Earlier this morning we showed you a selfie that a teenager took at Poland’s infamous Auschwitz concentration camp, where hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives under Nazi Germany rule. The selfie sparked an interesting debate on Facebook and Twitter: Tourists having been pictures at historical sites since the advent of photography and everyone has a smartphone these days, so why exactly his her selfie so disrespectful?
Personally, I think it’s because such behavior illustrates that people are not internalizing what a visit to said historical site signifies in the grand scheme of history. There is a certain a sanctity to the world’s battlefields, cemeteries, and memorials that needs to be respected; by collectively remembering the horror that happened there, we — as a human race — take a step forward in hopefully not repeating it. Thus, a visit to a historical sites where a mass tragedy occurred isn’t for screaming “HEY, LOOK WHERE I AM!” to all of your friends, but rather for solemn and sober reflection and remembrance. Like a visit to a grave, it’s should be a deeply emotional experience.
Selfies — by their very nature — put the person as the center of attention, which is a slap-in-the-face to all that is respectful and sacred at a memorial.
That said, Auschwitz concentration camp isn’t the only place where teenagers are taking vaguely horrifying selfies these days. To bring things back home, a quick search on Twitter shows that a few teenagers here in America are taking selfies at the 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan, where over 2500 lost their lives during the September 11 terrorist attacks. 9/11 happened 13 years ago, so many of these teenagers were only a couple years old at the time. Clearly they probably don’t remember the fear, panic, and national mourning in the wake of 9/11. Regardless, it’s a slap in the face to 9/11 victims and everyone else personally effected by the attacks to hold your phone up in the air and and snap a selfie at a place where so many people had their lives cut short.
Parents: Teach your kids where it is and isn’t cool to take a selfie. These places are for thinking and remembering, not showing.
This teenager is smiling and added an explanation point for emphasis. Not exactly a place for happiness:
At least this girl understands how messed and disrespectful it is to take a selfie at the site where thousands lost their lives:
I’m not sure this guy understands where he is:
Some like to show off the “cool” fashion they got there:
They try to sneak it with GoPro poles:
Perhaps the most egregious, disrespectful selfie at the 9/11 Memorial is from someone who pretended to mock cry, feigning grief:
I want more like this!
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