It was a Tuesday morning in September when two planes crashed into the World Trade Center. I was ten years old.
It was a Monday afternoon in April when two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I was twenty years old.
It was a Friday night in November when multiple attacks were carried out by terrorists in Paris. I am twenty-three years old.
I was scared for New York in 2001, and for many places during many times since then, but I am scared for the world now. Where it has become slightly less shocking each time someone commits an atrocious crime and innocent lives are lost, it is no less horrific or heartbreaking. For nearly twenty-four hours, I have watched news broadcasts, read articles, and seen support spread across all forms of social media in regards to these most recent attacks. I, too, have shared my condolences and thoughts of hope for Paris.
But Paris is not alone. In only the past week, there have been attacks in Beirut[1,2], Baghdad, and Jordan as well. Israel saw a “Bloody October,” where more than 600 terror attacks killed 11 people and injured many more; they still see daily terror attacks and must live in fear. There have been two earthquakes[1,2] and small residual tsunamis in Japan in two days. There was a magnitude-4.3 earthquake in Baja California, Mexico yesterday. Unfortunately, many people did not hear much about the troubles outside of France. By now, news of these other events has been shared–though still not to the same degree. I am not the first, or last, or most informed source on any of these attacks, but apparently neither is the media.
None of this is meant to diminish Paris’ pain, fear, or loss. They are in the midst of a nightmare that the world has come to know all too well. I’ve watched and read and heard the news from all over the world in my lifetime. I have seen schools, cities, and countries demolished by everything from natural causes to horrible acts of terror. We have all felt the pain, fear, and loss that Paris is living through right now. So I believe that we all know what they need most: comfort, safety, and love. But they are not alone.
After the attacks of September 11th, French newspaper Le Monde’s headline read, “We are all Americans.” Today, we are all French. But we are also Middle Eastern, Japanese, and Mexican. We are more than our nationalities, religions, political beliefs, or countries of origin or home. We are citizens of the world. It is up to us to spread love and hope rather than hate and fear. Today, I ask something more of all of you. While you are sending thoughts of love and peace, good energy, prayers, and hope to Paris, send the same to Baghdad, Beruit, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, and to all other countries who are facing times of strife and struggle as well.
“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
For Paris, for Israel and Iraq, for the entire world, let there be peace and kindness. Let there be unity and understanding. Let there be hope, safety, and better days where we no longer have to will these things to be commonplace.