The world is not well. For example, there’s a civil war happening in Syria. There are hundreds of thousands of refugees seeking asylum. And now someone has made an Instagram account to celebrate these “handsome men on their journey to Europe” because even though “their countries might be falling apart … their sex appeal still goes strong.” Uh-oh.
So, although one might have assumed it went without saying, now seems like a good time to note: A life-or-death humanitarian crisis may not be the optimal moment for a little lighthearted objectification.
The account, however, was not created with bad intentions. Its creator — a 20-something living in Washington, D.C., who prefers to remain anonymous — told the Cut,
I created this account after watching a video from the refugees and migrants who were stuck behind the border fence in Idomeni. One of the people who was pleading for the borders to open caught my eye and I found myself recounting how many other times I pondered about some of these people’s fates. I got distracted by some of the good-looking men in the process. It’s a bit surreal to ‘objectify’ people who are fleeing war and broken countries … It is hard to overlook these people if you aren’t seeing them through their trek in Europe and it’s easy to dismiss them because the reality is far removed from you. These photos bring the realities a bit closer. There is something to be said about finding comedy in such a tragedy. It helps to cope with the situation.
Putting an individual face on tragedy is, of course, one way of making a political abstraction into something human and urgent. Humor is another great way to alleviate the crushing truth of a terrible situation. There’s maybe only one way in which one can imagine a joke about this being funny … say, for example a Daily Show segment about a clueless person who decided to make an Instagram about “hot” refugees in order to call attention to the plight of said refugees. Otherwise, maybe don’t.