#prayforlahore, Instagram reacts to Lahore blast

mediasetAn overview of the emerging visual trends on Instagram in response to the suicide bomb attack in Lahore, Pakistan. Screenshots were captured using the hashtags #prayforlahorepakistan and #prayforlahore between 18:00 and 2:00 am GMT between 27 and 28th March, 2016.

A thematic grouping of visuals is suggested based on the social movement visual tropes as previously researched by media scholar Crystal Abidin.

1). Tower of Pakistan, Jean Julien’s peace symbol – a non-religious symbol of solidarity

prayforparisThe Tower of Pakistan, a historic monument, bears political significance as the birthplace of Pakistan’s independance movement. One of the cultural landmarks of Lahore city, here it is combined with Jean Julien’s illustration for last year’s Paris Attacks. The Eiffel Tower is replaced by the Tower of Pakistan, requiring minimum editing. In this case the  illustration is captioned with the hashtag.

Variants of the symbol in green background, Pakistan’s national color and a black background with text in Turkish and Urdu are also shared.

Other variations include the tower on black background, black and white and color photography


2). Dates, Black day: traditional mourning symbols

Similar to the mourning symbols shared on social media during Peshwar Attack perptuated in December 2014 in an Army public school, most visual repsonses moblize comparable graphic style.

3). Artworks

Digital illustrations abound, focusing on the Tower of Pakistan, combined with the peace symbol or replacing the star of the Pakistani flag. Minimalist designs tones are used, highlighting the national colors green and white.

4). Turkish solidarity

Many visuals posted by Turkish Instagram accounts illustrating solidarity by displaying national symbols such as flags and soldiers.

5). Pakistani flag

6). Associating with current attack symbols

Paris, Istanbul and Brussels attacks. The slogan “I am + attacked city” is transformed into “We are Lahore” #humlahorehein (Romanized Urdu)

7). Media coverage

Posts focusing on rescue worker, blood doners and mourners.

8). Quranic verses

These are fewer in number as observed in previous attack contexts.

9). Varia

ISIS disclaimers, Christians targetted


10).‘Grief hype-jacking’1)a concept introduced by Media Scholar Crystal Abidin, who is currently working on it.

Selfies and snapchat pictures posted under the hashtag #prayforlahore to attract traffic.


References   [ + ]

1. a concept introduced by Media Scholar Crystal Abidin, who is currently working on it.

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