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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Selfie ~ the cruel desire killing animals and sometimes self too !!

Are you in the habit of whipping out your phone and grabbing a photo when you are in a public place or with a celebrity !!  It all reportedly started in Sept 2002 in an Australian internet forum, but has reached menacing proportions within 5 years !  It is the ‘Selfie’  - the craze of people to take a  self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a digital camera or camera phone held in the hand or supported by a selfie stick.  For the thousands of mourners inside Johannesburg's FNB Stadium it was meant to be a fitting tribute to a 'giant of history'. But while some reflected on the remarkable life of Nelson Mandela, some world leaders saw it as the perfect opportunity to grab a quick 'selfie' with their peers - prompting a backlash from web users accusing them of undermining the seriousness of the event. It was a SElfie that U.S. President Barack Obama, Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt took at the  memorial service for the former South African president, prompting an outpouring of criticism.

Over the World, some National parks have issued warnings about the potential for life-threatening incidents including falls from heights and animal attacks. At least a dozen people died in 2015 after accidents while they were using a selfie stick. Bans also exist in museums around the country, including The Art Institute of Chicago.

Down under, a  student drowned in a river just moments after posing for selfies when a dam was opened and the water level rose dramatically. New Zealander Rachael Louise De Jong was swept away by rapids after becoming stranded on a rock with three friends in the middle of the Waikato River. The four women had reportedly been taking selfies moments before, as the warning siren went off, signalling the dam would be opened. The group attempted to jump to safety from the small rock on to a bigger rock as fast-flowing water began to rise around them. Two women reached the rock, but Ms De Jong, 21, another woman, and a man who had been trying to help them were swept away by a sudden surge of water. While the man and other women managed to swim to safety, Ms De Jong was drowned by the powerful current.

A Brazilian tourist learned the hard way not to pick up a baby shark for any reason, let alone a selfie.  The woman, whose named has not been released, was walking along a beach on the Brazilian archipelago Fernando de Noronha when she spotted a baby lemon shark. She grabbed it, reportedly for a selfie, according to news reports on the incident, when it snapped onto her hand. The incident was caught on camera and posted on Facebook. It shows the woman, 35, struggling to free her hand from the baby shark’s mouth. Someone comes to her assistance as the filming continued, apparently by her boyfriend. After several minutes of struggling, the shark released its grip and the woman tossed it back into the water. Both the woman and her boyfriend were fined more than $6,000 and both face animal cruelty charges.

More sad is the cruelty to dolphins.  A baby dolphin in Argentina was  killed after being mobbed by tourists looking for the perfect selfie. According to La Capital, a newspaper in Argentina, on Sunday tourists dragged the dolphin from the ocean in San Bernardo, about 200 miles south of Buenos Aires. A blurry YouTube video shows a crowd of people standing and kneeling around the small creature, touching and petting it. “They let him die,” one observer quoted in La Capital told C5N, a TV news channel. “He was young and came to the shore. They could have returned him to the water—in fact, he was breathing. But everyone started taking photos and touching him. They said he was already dead.” This is the second time in a year that a young dolphin in Argentina has died at the hands of selfie-seeking tourists.

Tourists have repeatedly been warned not to interfere with animals in the wild for photo opportunities, especially in light of a series of headline-making incidents. Last month, a French tourist in Thailand learnt a lesson about getting too close to crocodile after she was bitten while trying to take a selfie with a croc at a national park in Khao Yai, north of Bangkok.

Back home, an University in Mangaluru barred people from clicking pictures with Bharat Ratna recipient CNR Rao  during his visit to the university on February 11 to receive Honoris Causa and deliver a lecture. The Univ Registrar was quoted as saying that one of the conditions put forth by the 85-year-old scientist that  he cannot withstand flash or any kind of photography which could disturb him. Recently, a  local court in UP  granted bail to controversial RJD leader Mohammad Shahabuddin, in a case of taking selfie inside Siwan jail where he is now lodged. He had been booked under various sections of the IT Act and Prisoners Act. Siwan divisional jail Superintendent  had lodged an FIR with Mufassil police station on January 14 against Mohammad Shahabuddin and one person after the RJD leader’s photo of taking selfie inside the jail had gone viral on social media. However, despite the bail, the four-time RJD MP from Siwan, who is facing over 36 cases including murder and kidnapping, would not come out of the jail.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
11th Feb 2017.


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