“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Last night, at around 9:30 PM, gunmen entered the Bataclan – a popular French music venue – and opened fire and began taking hostages. At this same time, two Parisian restaurants were attacked, killing 14 at one and 18 at another. Two explosions were also heard from the Stade du France, the nation’s most popular sports venue. There were hundreds of casualties, over half of them being deaths – and, it seems, the death toll could still be rising. The terrible acts were confirmed to be the responsibility of the Islamic extremist group ISIS and France has tightened their borders in an effort to keep any more potential terrorists out and find any gunmen that may still be at large. (To put this in perspective, the last time a nation shut its borders due to terrorism was the U.S. after the September 11th attacks.) Additionally, there were twin suicide bombings in Lebanon, claiming the lives of about 50 people with over 200 injuries. Severe earthquakes hit both Japan and Mexico, and a suicide bombing killed 21 and injured 46 at a funeral in Baghdad. More than 100 people were injured by mudslides in China.
Almost immediately after the Paris attacks, hashtags began popping up left and right, some offering shelter to those in the area, some offering condolences, and some simply informing people that the event had occurred. After the many other tragic events occurring globally reached social media, #PrayForParis turned into #PrayForTheWorld. Even people who do not pray or aren’t religious used the tag. This world is in pieces and we don’t know, as of right now, how we should go about piecing it back together.
Once again, man’s inherent cruelty to man has been made clear through the use of violence. This is not only affecting those in Paris; people all over the world are paying notice to these horrible acts. We all find ourselves tracing back to one question: why?
There are still facts emerging from the tragedy in Paris, and with each new bit of information comes a thousand new questions: How could this happen? Why did this happen here? Why did this happen now? Why did this happen at all? We’re still scraping and scratching for answers but finding none. We feel abandoned. We feel hopeless. And we are afraid.
However, there’s one question bigger than all of this: How could someone do this to their own species? How could someone take hundreds of lives so easily? Events like these rattle us to the core and show just how dark man can be, and we as a species are left to pick up the broken pieces left behind.
The complete disrespect to human life is one that will change some people’s lives forever. Families and friends of victims of these vicious attacks will need all of the love they can get. All of these countries, struck by disaster, need love in order to move past this horrific event and pick up all of the pieces. Without love, we, as a species, will not progress. We will not change. Without a mentality based very firmly on love and coexistence, we will become stuck in this constant cycle of violence and tragedy.
Pray for the world in these next few weeks. Pray that we find peace. It will be a slow journey, but through the use of love and empathy, it is possible to achieve some sort of coexistence with each other. If you don’t pray, keep the world in your thoughts. Send good energy and don’t let this die down. We will not forget the lives stolen by all of Friday’s events. We must progress and help those struck by tragedy find light after suffering so immensely.
For change to truly happen, we must collectively want it with all of our being. In the coming weeks, consider all those whose lives were lost to violence and man’s savage nature. Spread love to those affected and try with all your might to be the change that you wish to see in the world.