Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Is it really for the victims' families?

Recently I learned of a site that posts names, pictures, life histories, and surviving relatives of those tragically killed in the turmoil in Isreal, and even allows you to send a condolence note to the families. In addition to asking for donations, you can even buy a bracelet with one of the victims' names on it or a "poster of victims". This money (and organization) claims to "provides financial, legal, and emotional assistance to the survivors of terrorism" (and I have no reason to doubt that this is what they actually do).

But the problem is, this isn't necessarily what the families of the victims want. I was directed to this site by one such woman. Her mother was tragically killed by a suicide bomber last June. Neither she nor anyone else in her family has given this organization permission to use her mother's picture, name, life history (and even their own names). They have, in fact, asked that her mother's picture and name be removed . . . to no avail.

If an organization is supposed to be for the benefit of survivors, and a memorial to the victims, shouldn't they take the victims' families' feelings into consideration? Shouldn't they have the right to mourn the tragic loss of their mother in any way that they see fit -- not what someone else sees fit?

When will the exploitation of victims and their families end?

As one family member said:

I don't think the profile is what really bothers me, I already accepted this level of "publicness". What I can't stand is the commercialism. These people are selling shares in grief, and it's not even theirs to sell.

[Note: all links are to general pages, and no identifying information for the particular victim is mentioned in this post, for the sake of her family. And, once again, I would like to send out my deepest sympathies for the tragic loss of your mother to Yahewe and Vevedation (screen names only).]

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