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The Modern Day "Napalming"

The Modern Day "Napalming"


L.T. Force, Ph.D., Gerontologist

I am old enough to remember the scenes of the Vietnam War being broadcast by the Network Nightly News - across our dinner tables. The scenes were vivid and disturbing - they captured the reality of the conflict and the toll on the loss of human life. These stories and images were not only televised - they were also embedded and distributed on the front page of print media. One image that stood out - for our nation to pause with shock, horror and sadness - was the image of the: “little Napalm girl" - running terrified and naked.... running and screaming down the street in South Vietnam - covered in fiery napalm. Phan Thị Kim Phúc, referred to informally as the Napalm girl, is a South Vietnamese-born Canadian woman best known as the nine-year-old child depicted in the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph taken at Trảng Bàng during the Vietnam War on June 8, 1972. Wikipedia.

The picture portrayed horror and the ravages of war. Those images were broadcast using the media platforms of the day: network nightly news, newspapers and radio.

Fast forward to today. Within the last 15 years - the advent of mobile technology and internet platforms have forever changed how we receive news of the world events. No longer is it a once a day newscast, or daily paper or radio show....but rather it the continuous 24-hours per day / 7-days a week - 365 days a year of ‘bombardment’ and 'pounding' of social injustice, political corruption, untreated virus, crime in the street.... overall: "'incoming' information, images and pictures of 'the ‘horror of the human condition". And this ‘hell-fire’ is no longer delivered from planes, rockets and land grenades - it is being delivered by media and social media platforms - we are being attacked by the "napalming" (of all of us) by the continual influx of devastating news - that represents chaos. To what end? Where will this take us as a society? What will be the ultimate cost?

Today, I read an article in Forbes Magazine by Jessica Gold titled: We Need To Talk About Another Pandemic Mental Health Crisis: Therapist Burnout ( Ms. Gold brings up a very important point - the impact of the COVID Pandemic on Therapists and Professionals in the “Helping Field”. Yes, it is true there is a sharp and marked increase in a: ‘universe of anxiety and stress’. We are all feeling it....and making adjustments. For some Therapists, they are increasing their case load....bringing in more and more clients - to try and be of help. However, there are consequences to this action - and one of the major consequences is “Therapist Burn-out”. Thank -you Ms. Gold for so eloquently highlighting a problem we need to address.

What else can we take away from Ms. Gold’s article. For one, all actions have an impact....this is clear when we look at the rippling effect of the COVID Pandemic.There are consequences for actions. And this is so clear, when it comes to: The Modern Day "Napalming". Everywhere we turn - it’s a continuous portrayal of what is wrong....what is bad....etc. And now the exposure to this news is not a once a day....a nightly news event - it is a bombardment.....a saturation.....a bombing....and now we are all running through the streets trying to get away from disaster....running from: The Modern Day "Napalming”.

Solution? We make a choice....we turn our attention from the turmoil - we find things, events, music, noise, games, activities, interactions that bring us feelings of: warmth, goodness, success, empowerment, friendship and: "the positive side of the human condition".

May I suggest a Post by Amer Kayyal on LinkedIn:

Now that you have seen that you have heard it....keep looking at it.... keep listening to the background music....again and again...."it's a good feeling".

Phan Thị Kim Phúc was victimized....she had no choice or ability to stop the horrific events that were surrounding her. We have choices to stop the "bombardment".....We have choices as to what we want to see and witness....and how we want to feel....both internally and externally. "Phan Thị Kim Phúc....she showed her strength and determination....she moved forward....she healed....and so can we".


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