What We Do When We #PrayFor: Communicating Posthumanitarian Solidarity Through #PrayForMarawi

Abstract

When Islamic State-inspired extremists laid siege in Marawi City, #PrayForMarawi circulated across various social media platforms. Using Kenneth Burke’s Guilt-redemption rhetoric as framework, how was solidarity communicated through #PrayForMarawi tweets?
#PrayForMarawi frames the terrorist siege as the source of guilt which destroyed our upholding of cosmopolitan values. Mortification in the form of self-sacrifice is performed through the announcement of acts of prayer online while victimage is communicated by offering up ISIS as the tragic scapegoat that needs to be banished. Through this framing of the situation, the liberation of the city becomes the “amen” of the online prayer utterance, transporting socio-political events onto the realm of divine intervention. The liberation of Marawi was the ultimate purging of guilt in #PrayForMarawi. However, two years after the liberation of Marawi, no hashtags of solidarity are trending for the 100,000 Marawi residents who are still displaced and homeless. Some of the residents have even expressed their frustration and impatience toward the government’s broken promises of rehabilitation.
Because of the redemption acknowledged in the answered prayers of liberation of #PrayForMarawi, a post-humanitarian solidarity of “mass self-communication” purified our individual guilt while failing to provide a collective and sustained commitment for justice towards the suffering of others.