The incredible thing about the Internet is that just when you think it has completely let you down, it can turn around and completely make your day. Humanity is the same.
When an unprecedented 8,000 Senegalese migrants made their way by water to Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta, volunteers were unprepared for what they saw. Still, they were there to help, which is something that comes very naturally to empathetic humans.
Luna Reyes, a 20-year-old Red Cross volunteer, showed her natural instincts and humanity in a viral image of her hugging a Senegalese migrant.
“He was crying, I held out my hand and he hugged me.”– Luna Reyes
“He clung to me. That embrace was his lifeline,” Reyes remarks.
The man had just arrived onto Spanish soil, was visibly exhausted, and Reyes helped him over to be seated and then offered him water. After she attentively gave him the water, the two hugged and the man began to cry.
Luna has described the hug as “the most normal thing in the world.”
The moment went viral. However, while most would see the incredible love for another human being and representation of humanity in the photo and video, trolls did not. Spain’s far-right Vox party and those who were displeased by the news of the arrival of thousands of migrants flooded Luna Reyes’ social media accounts with hateful words and abuse.
“They saw that my boyfriend was Black, they wouldn’t stop insulting me and saying horrible, racist things to me,” Luna says of the experience. Reyes has since had to set her social media profiles to private.
Support on the internet
However, the Internet did not stand for the abuse and fought back in support of Luna. The hashtag #GraciasLuna was born, and supporters all over the world, including public officials, sent messages of praise and love to Luna.
Rita Maestre, a city councillor from Madrid tweeted, “We will not allow hatred to win.”
Maestre continued, “Those of us who see this embrace as a symbol of the best of our country outnumber the others.”
Spain’s economy minister Nadia Calviño said, “#GraciasLuna for representing the best values of our society.”
Jagan Chapagain, the secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said, “Luna represents our very best.”
“#GraciasLuna, for shining a light. Gracias Luna for showing the world what humanity looks like.”-Jagan Chapagain
Love is stronger than trolls
The trolls may have intended on turning a beautiful global moment into a tarnished experience for the woman at the centre of it, but they failed. Humanity rose to the occasion in the moment captured by the photograph, and then it rose to the occasion again through the form of public support.
The #GraciasLuna moment, is more powerful than negativity brewing trolls. That is because it is fuelled by love.
Haters will always hate, but love will always conquer all.
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