In today’s world, meme culture is thriving. Making memes about things is a normal occurrence. However, people take it too far without realising the gravity of the issue.
With the current concerns surrounding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many who are untouched by the crisis have taken to social media to joke about it being the start of World War III and being drafted into the army to fight their first war. Many people refer to it as “dark humour” and claim that it’s a coping mechanism for them. Keep in mind that it has no immediate impact on them. Innocent people in Ukraine are at risk; they live in terror of their homes being destroyed and being separated from their families. Ukrainians expressed their concern regarding the memes on social media, and they’ve expressed that they find it a disturbing form of humour.
Dark humour is a type of comedy that makes light of events that are too serious or difficult to discuss openly. But the problem with dark humour is that few people realise it often only works for situations they have personally experienced. We are allowed to be disheartened and depressed by significant issues which do not directly impact us, but victimising ourselves and making jokes as a coping mechanism whilst literal lives are in danger may not be the best response.
The younger generation is quick to pick up on new trends, and the examples individuals leave on the internet for those just getting started in the online realm are not ideal. Yes, the internet is a means for escapism for many individuals, but it is not difficult to remain courteous while having fun. If the issue has nothing to do with us, we should refrain from making jokes about it. It is not difficult to feel compassion for hundreds, if not thousands, of families desperately trying to exit the country before the war escalates, or for individuals who are unable to flee with their families because they are a male above the age of 18 and must stay and fight in a war.
The very least we can do from the comfort of our own homes is to not make light of such serious situations and to educate ourselves. Even if we are unable to provide direct support, we can try our best to be aware of the issue and advocate for the people suffering due to the war.