I don’t really know where to start with this. I’ve been trying to start this blog post for over an hour now because I can’t really figure out the kind of angle I want to take with this.
So, let me start with the premise.
About 24 hours ago, a tragedy in Paris, France killed over 125 people and injured many more. There were attacks on the city in a combination of suicide bombings and shootings. If you don’t know about it, please read about it, and here, here, here, and here are some articles to get you started. There are tons of articles about this right now because it’s an absolute tragedy.
I’ve been really sad. I’ve been thinking about my friends who live in France. I’ve been thinking about distant family who live in France. I’ve been thinking about all the families and loved ones that have been affected. I’ve been thinking about my feelings and how people in France probably feel 100x worse.
I’ve been seeing a lot of friends and family members on Facebook superimpose a opaque flag of France on their profile pictures to stand in solidarity with the people of France. It just shows that the world can come together, even if you don’t know the people personally. People from around the world can sympathize with death, grief, and loss. It is absolutely tragic and disheartening. My heart is overwhelmed with anguish and despair as I write this.
Then, I’ve been thinking, this has happened before. I’m not going to discredit what happened to in France yesterday as just some event in a long string of terrorist attacks or other tragic events that happen nearly everyday in so many places in the world. The events of yesterday were definitely real and devastating, and they were painfully unique to the people who were personally affected. But, in a sense, the events of yesterday was just another event in a long string of tragic events that happen nearly every day in many places in the world. They were, and it just reminded me of this:
Because every day in the world, and excuse me for my language but, shit happens. Excluding the horrible headlines that I see about American politics, these are some of the headlines that I’ve seen in the last few weeks:
- Lebanon mourns victims of twin suicide bombings
13 November 2015 (yesterday, around the same time as Paris attacks)
“Lebanon has held a national day of mourning after two suicide bombers killed at least 43 people and wounded more than 200 others in a busy shopping street in southern Beirut.”
- Nowhere to Run, Hide When Fleeing Boko Haram
12 November 2015
“… more than 25,000 people have lost their lives in the past six years, and more than 2.5 million others have been displaced in the Lake Chad Basin region since May 2013 … “
- ISIS Claims Responsibility for Blasts That Killed Dozens in Beirut
12 November 2015
“Since the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011, Beirut and other Lebanese cities have been subjected to bombings and other attacks carried out in the name of rival Syrian factions.”
- UPDATED: In Africa’s second plane crash in week, cargo flight plunges into River Nile killing 35 after take off in Juba
4 November 2015
“South Sudan has been engulfed by conflict since December 2013, when a power struggle in the ruling party led to fighting within the presidential guard and the fracturing of the army. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, which has forced more than two million others from their homes, according to the UN.”
- Indonesia is burning. So why is the world looking away?
30 October 2015
“Children are being prepared for evacuation in warships; already some have choked to death. Species are going up in smoke at an untold rate. It is almost certainly the greatest environmental disaster of the 21st century – so far.”
These are the just a few that I could find, but there are plenty more. I’m just trying to point out that there is a double standard when we talk about conflict, terrorism, and media coverage. The fact is, events like yesterday’s in France is the reality for many countries in the Middle East and Africa. Why do you think American troops have been in the Middle East in the past 15+ years? The West is privileged enough to not have events like these happen often, and so when they do happen, it becomes a worldwide spectacle. But, we don’t talk about how it continues to happen frequently in other places in the world.
What’s even worse is this kind of sentiment only perpetuates the Islamophobic overarching notions that people hold. There are negative stereotypes about Muslims, which is why we had the whole debacle about Ahmed’s clock and why people think President Obama is a Muslim (he’s not!) when they don’t agree with his politics or because of his name. Associating him with Islam, for some people, automatically makes him a bad person. Like racial stereotypes, we let the actions of a few define what it means to be a Muslim as a whole, and there’s just something so illogical about that. I have Muslim friends, who have only been loving and kind to me. It’s absolutely ridiculous that some people believe that all Muslims are bad people; Muslims are not inherently evil.
I’m not even going to go into how ISIS began as a repercussion of Western intervention. I’m just frustrated about how the rest of the world doesn’t get the attention that some parts of the world do. So, I’m going to end this post with a recommendation to watch Iron Man again. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the families and friends in France as well as the rest of the world. It hurts everywhere.
Where does it hurt? It hurts everywhere.
Over and out.