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#NotAMartyr Is #HereToStay

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, January 13 2014

Last week I wrote that the most powerful campaign online right now started with a selfie. The #NotAMartyr campaign took off on Twitter and Facebook after a political assassination in Lebanon killed six, including an innocent teenage kid. Lebanese citizens took to social media networks to express sadness and frustration with the current state of affairs in their country by writing messages and taking selfies. Yesterday, the people behind #NotAMartyr announced on Facebook that they will continue those conversations online and off.

The #notamaryr campaign was launched on December 30, 2013 and has prompted thousands of people to imagine and express different versions of their ideal futures in Lebanon. In each and every one of the selfies, there was hope. People have imagined better, greener, and safer roads. They dreamt of less racism, less flags, more opportunities, and more schools. People have demanded the rights of women, migrant workers, LGBTQ, and animals. Many expatriates have desired a Lebanon they can return to. Most demanded peace, security, and the most basic of needs: a life away from the constant threat of martyrdom. . .

. . .We want to turn the selfie into a conversation, and in doing so, find solutions, together. One selfie will be chosen every Tuesday and posted on our page. That selfie’s message will determine the subject of conversation for that week. We call upon every person out there to join into the conversation, on our Facebook page, in blogs, on TV, on YouTube, in magazines and newspapers, on the street, in cabs, in cafes, in schools. We especially call on experts on the selected topic to join in to the conversation. We need to exchange ideas, and talk to each other. We need to challenge and supplement each other's visions so that we can construct our ideals away from the constant discouragement of our political apparatus, and share ways of realizing those ideals.

While this may not solve all of our country’s problems, we are confident that conversation is the first step in accomplishing any shared goal.

This is an excellent example of harnessing spontaneous engagement for more controlled and hopefully goal-driven activism. It will be interesting to track the evolution of #NotAMartyr over the next few months to see what comes of this.

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