Re­mem­brance marred by so­cial me­dia storms

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

A lot has changed in a cen­tury, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the art of Chi­nese whis­pers.

If any­thing, Face­book has only im­proved the mob men­tal­ity of tak­ing an event and blow­ing it en­tirely out of pro­por­tion.

Peo­ple are quick to cry fake news over sto­ries that may chal­lenge their be­liefs, but some­how a post on Face­book from a neigh­bour you’ve never seen car­ries far more weight.

Of course, com­mu­nity Face­book groups are for the most part good. This week’s edi­tion men­tions Hawkhurst res­i­dents who were right­fully ou­traged when their lo­cal pop­pies were cov­ered by ad­ver­tise­ments.

Out­cry led to ac­tion, and the vil­lage was able to pay its re­spects with the rest of the coun­try by hav­ing its pop­pies on show. But on the 100th an­niver­sary of the end of the First World War, some chose to voice their own com­plaints, rather than re­flect on the sac­ri­fices of oth­ers.

Our story re­gard­ing the Ge­orge and the Dragon Pub goes to show how out­rage can post­pone crit­i­cal think­ing. Hours after hon­our­ing a cen­tury since the end of the ‘war to end all wars’, some were al­ready feud­ing over wild ru­mour and spec­u­la­tion. With all the facts now on the table, one would hope the frenzy is over and some may have learnt a les­son. Per­haps they would have learned to fo­cus on what is truly im­por­tant. Sun­day was a re­mark­able event, one of the few oc­ca­sions where a coun­try felt united in silent re­flec­tion.

Work­ing de­mands or per­sonal choice may see a dif­fer­ence in how we re­flect, but no one should ig­nore or un­der­mine the im­por­tance of this poignant mile­stone.

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