just don't understand people who just indiscriminately forward emails that are jokes, or chain letters, or hoaxes without giving a thought to the people on their list who might not appreciate, and in fact might be offended, by some of the subject matter in the emails. Personally I have always been very selective about any email that I choose to forward - selective about its content, and selective about whom I think might appreciate receiving that particular content. In all honesty, it has to be a really special email to merit my decision to forward it on to anyone at all. AND, if there is any doubt at all about the authenticity of the email, before I send it on, I would check it out on Snopes.com or on UrbanLegends.about.com or any other similar website which devotes itself to debunking hoax emails and urban legends.
A few years ago, a person kept forwarding me emails that were of questionable taste, but I finally had to put a stop to it when he forwarded me an email with a link to a website that was supposed to be funny - it had a cartoon with military guys blowing the heads off of Arabs. Yeah, real funny. I tried to be as diplomatic as I possibly could when I replied back to him - and everyone else that he had sent the email out to - saying that I found it offensive, especially since my husband is an Arab. I politely requested that he not send me any more emails like that.
I realize that there are some people who don't really think about the material they are forwarding on to others - but why don't they? Wouldn't that be the thoughtful and considerate thing to do? Gee, I would like to think that most of my friends are thoughtful and considerate. Why do some people feel the need to just automatically forward emails on to everyone on their list without giving it any thought at all?
A few days ago I got a forwarded email from a guy I went to school with many decades ago. He knows that my husband is a Muslim and that I live in Saudi Arabia now. The email from him contained a series of photos of a young Muslim boy in Iran supposedly being punished for stealing a loaf of bread. The punishment? A car tire was to run over the boy's arm, rendering the boy's arm useless for the rest of his life. The email contained derogatory remarks about Islam, which were also written in Hebrew. Hello? That alone struck me as a glaring clue to the fact that it was a hoax. I just simply Googled the scenario and immediately came up with an article explaining that the people in the photo were actually street performers - that the boy had not stolen a loaf of bread and was not being punished. The boy was part of a performance. And the final photo of the series which shows that the boy was apparently fine afterwards was of course left out of the email. While using a child in such a way and putting him in harm's way as part of a show may not be such a brilliant idea, spreading lies about the scenario and blaming it on Islam's barbaric punishment of a hungry child is even worse.
When I wrote back to my friend - and everyone else on his list that he had also sent it out to - I explained that it was a hoax, and I asked him to please stop spreading untrue hatemail about Islam. I also supplied the link on Hoax-Slayer.com that came up on Google which debunked this hoax.
This was his exact response back to me: "Looks like I hit a nerve... to which I unfortunately have to reply, Everything I ever needed to know about Islam I learned on 9/11." Sounds like one of those quotes that he heard someone else say and liked the way it sounded, so now he uses it.
But the truth is, the man really didn't care that he was spreading lies about Islam. He was more interested in perpetuating hatred toward Muslims. It didn't matter to him that what was in the email wasn't true. Unfortunately his attitude is probably not as rare as I would hope.
Please think before you forward emails indiscriminately. Thank you.