“A great tragedy, may God help us” – wrote in a comment a Facebook user immediately after a fire broke out in a modular hospital for treatment of COVID-19, on the night of September 8 in Tetovo. Four minutes after the comment, a comment appeared: “Why help? Let this tribe croak?” (profile under the name “Gjore Dimitrievski.
While the victims and those injured in the horrible fire that broke out in the hospital are being counted, haters have found their place, on the first lines of the Facebook and Twitter battlefield.
Reports of the team for monitoring disinformation and hate speech are flowing in. Monstrous hatred, total heartlessness – I conclude once again. The first lines of the analysis arrive late in the night. The monitoring team knows quite well some of those that have used this tragedy as well to spread hatred on the social networks or to have “all of a sudden” shown “concern” for who could be responsible for the tragedy. The fire was still raging, but they had already gone “deep in the Facebook-Twitter-investigation”.
In my inbox came a photo of a comment that reads: “It will burn, normally. Only in this way can this hysteria in the country and forced vaccination and introduction of measures stop”. Complete nonsense, but people are reading it, approving it and sharing it. Another comment from a certain profile under the name “Radica Arsoska” reads: “May all of them burn”.
Opposed to this unimaginable heartlessness and hatred, stand the people. Firefighters and doctors on the frontlines, and immediately after journalist teams (public) and the entire state leadership, immediately entered a battle against the tragedy.
Someone in those dramatic night hours, when telephone calls and conversations with the people around me turned into one big frenetic mass of information, semi- information and a deeply emotional communication, said to me: “People who were fighting for breath and those fighting for their health, were burning in the fire”.
People respond differently to tragedies. Some on the social media started connecting things. On Ilinden – fires in the forests, on September 8, Independence Day – fire in a hospital. For a moment, the attention stops there, but it is responsible to reject all thoughts that can put a person under the influence of conspiracy theories. Greece, for example, was not celebrating Ilinden, but had many fires.
Amazingly, Hristijan Mickoski, a politician who he himself and the party he leads (if he is leading it), is continuously isolating from all events and processes, instantly came out with a Facebook post that he is putting the party at disposal the same night. He did not write how and what he will put at disposal, but is worth noting that for the first time he is up-to-date.
In these tragic moments, humanity and solidarity cannot by far compensate for the human losses, but can lessen the pain of the families and loved ones. And the real investigation by professional services, not just the “couch-investigation” one on the social networks, started the same night.
It is unnecessary to say that for this tragic event there should be a good and founded investigation, but also a responsible public that will not succumb to the conspiracy theories and to hatred. It is no shame to ask for help also from foreign experts in the investigation.
In the meanwhile, our obligation is to be humane and to offer our help and condolences, as people and as professionals, each in their own field.
Translation: N. Cvetkovska