This Friday, I heard about the attacks in Paris and I was speechless. My Instagram feed was filled with the “Paris Peace Sign” photos. As the night of November 13th went on I kept hearing more and more about the details… still speechless. I didn’t really know how to act during the time… I was just a little shocked.
The next day, I saw how Facebook had alerts on if your friends that were in Paris were safe. I saw more and more Instagram posts, coinciding Facebook posts, and Twitter tweets. Then came the French Flag Facebook Filter… And as great as those are to show solidarity, I began to question, “What does that actually do?” “How does our Facebook French Flag Filters change anything?” “How can we stop this from happening again?” “Is this another social media trend like the ALS Ice Water Bucket Challenge that everyone is posting because everyone is doing it?” etc. The questions went on…
Then I saw the posts about how on April 2, 2015, 147 people were killed and 79 were injured in a terrorist attack at Garissa University College in Kenya. The numbers were close to the Paris attacks, but no media coverage… but really… where was the media coverage for that?! I honestly didn’t know about that attack myself, maybe because the lack of media coverage. Maybe because Facebook didn’t find it important enough to make a photo filter for it. Maybe because millions of other people in America, or the rest of the world, just didn’t know about it or post it on their timelines and Instagram feeds either. Maybe because Kenya is a third world country that people just don’t seem to care about? Who knows…
And then there was the Beirut, Lebanon bombings that were also claimed by ISIS that killed 43 people just the day before. No coverage. No flag filters on Facebook. No safety alerts from Facebook. No Instagram posts. Nothing.
Maybe people might think, “Oh, bombings happen in Lebanon all the time!” But in reality, Lebanon has not seen a bombing this violent since 1990. Let that sink in for a minute and think about it.
That doesn’t happen in Lebanon all the time, yet to us it’s “normal.” And if these things hypothetically did happen in countries in the Middle East or Africa all the time, and we think it’s normal… Isn’t there something wrong with that?
Is there something wrong with the fact that people’s lives are taken away in other countries every single day and we think it’s normal? We think about it, then we just go on with our lives again. What will it take for our world to finally take a stand and say, “Hey, that’s not right, we should do something about this!”
What about Syria? What about the refugees? What about Yemen? What about Palestine? What about the innocent lives being taken away in Iraq and Afghanistan? What about the attack in Baghdad? Do those not matter? The list can go on and on. And these attacks of violence will also go on and on…
This eventually lead to more questions like… What about the Islamophobia this is creating? What about the young muslim woman pushed in front of a moving train in London? What about America’s response to this? Will another “War on Terror” occur? Will that “War on Terror” also bring another power vacuum, allowing another group like ISIS to form and bring more terror? How will it ever stop?
There’s so many things to think about when it comes to these type of tragedies. In order to fix the problem we need to educate ourselves on the problem, then come up with solutions to fix the problem, and actions to move towards a more peaceful world. And it begins with us. We can’t wait for someone else to come in and save the day.
Our world is in a very dark state at the moment. The future of our world depends on the people living in it today, to change it for a better tomorrow. That last sentence is worth reading one more time, maybe twice. The saying goes, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” So my challenge to you is to find out which side you’re on, which side you want to be on, and what you’re going to do about it. What do you want to do about it?
Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.
-Martin Luther King Jr.
photo source: cnn.com – maxppp/landov