Following online developments on social media, people’s reaction to the uploaded viral YouTube video, since Saturday Nov. 19 the day of the school fire incident, has been varied online as well as on the ground.
The amateur video images of around two and a half minutes garnered more than half a million online views, with additional tags, tweets and Facebook posts.
The video, which apparently seemed to be shot by a young schoolgirl using a smart phone, showed moments of the burning Baraim Al-Watan Girls' School before the arrival of Civil Defense and the students’ attempt to escape the fire by jumping through the third floor window.
As of Tuesday comments kept flowing on the social media site between those who are for the showing of this type of material and those who voiced their disapproval of the upload — questioning the ethics of showing such images online.
Arab News spoke to a self-described avid social media buff, 23-year-old Samer, who supported the move. “I am for posting videos such as these. This way people can see and judge the situations and comment on them, hopefully enough feedback will improve the terrible situations in the girls; schools,” he said.
However, Abu Abdul Rahman, parent of four, viewed the matter differently stating: “I have seen the video, and as a parent, it seems from the audio that those shooting the footage are young children, incapable of apprehending the seriousness of the situation in front of them. Personally, I think their parents should have taught them that. When they witness a fire and they want to help they can use their smart phones to call Civil Defense instead of filming the people getting burned alive.”
The two minutes video posted on YouTube website was disapproved by several parents. One commented on the website that, "Saudi viewers should click on the 'dislike' button as opposed to the 'like' button, as no one should make light of people and children’s suffering. The video should be disliked.”
Some wondered if the line between what is to be shared online or not has become blurred, with many not caring how or who will be affected.
Several users commented on YouTube as well as on other social media sites, that they just couldn’t watch the video and suggested that other should do the same. “Honestly I find this sickening, and I would urge Saudi viewers to hit the YouTube ‘dislike’ button instead of ‘like’ to indicate their disapproval of this horrible scene,” he said.
Another commented, “I am all for informing citizen, for transparency, and for using social media to follow events, new activities, sharing things online, and following trends. However, in our society some things are best kept off limits, especially when children are involved, parents need to watch out what their young ones are uploading online.”
By Sultan Al-Tamimi