An acquaintance posted this picture on Facebook. It was said to show massive demonstrations taking place in Paris, due to the government’s coronavirus restrictions. The message was something like: “Look at the French, they certainly don’t let themselves be cowed.” And the post had already had time to get satisfied, understified thank-you-for-you-sharing comments.
Enough that the French are a protest-willing people, but this seemed completely unlikely, as I remarked. But what could it be instead? I shot from the hip. Celebrating French after winning football in 2018? Perhaps demonstrations in support of Charlie Hebdo 2015?
But words were against words. None of us could know what was true, my acquaintance said. In the absence of evidence, one opinion weighed as heavily as the other. In a weak moment, I wrote that if I devoted 15 minutes to it, it would certainly be possible to find where the picture actually came from.
It turned out to be a little harder than I thought. In the end, I found a picture I felt confident in of the same crowd. From the same time, from about the same angle. The text is in Polish, so I’m not entirely sure.
It doesn’t seem to be Paris, to begin with. Moscow? The text was from 2014.
This is just one example. On I don’t know what’s real. Disinformation is in the case. It is usually shared in good faith. In war and love, is everything allowed? […]
Of course, it is argued that a photo like this depicts physical reality, a certain place o time, o it does not (as in this case), then it is blatantly wrong. Fake. But you can see it as an illustration of an emotional reality, for some. That this is how it feels, “there are many of us”, that you wish, hope. It should look like this, etc.
In fact, it is estimated that about twenty thousand people have been out on the streets of Paris and protested the most? But the number has grown week by week. A lot of them, but not like in the picture. (The pictures. I found others in the same acquaintance, who were actually from the win in football in 2018. And the “yellow vests” protests against increased gasoline taxes last year, etc.)