Paris. Kenya. Lebanon. All places I’ve never been.
New York, DC, Blacksburg. Places I know and love.
What do they have in common? They’re all places where unspeakable acts of violence have happened. Places where people have lost their lives for no reason, through different kinds of attacks. All places that are hurting, along with many more we never hear of.
When I came home on Friday night to see what was happening in Paris, I couldn’t stop watching the coverage. But sadly, it didn’t shock me. Events like this have become far too common, and I’m saddened to see the violence that consumes our world near and far. Before long, my Facebook feed began to fill with messages of support, as well as profile photos colored like the French flag. I joined in by changing mine as well.
But then something else happened. The next day and the rest of the weekend, I began to see accusations. Instead of all the support, articles began to pop up. What about Lebanon? What about Kenya? What about all the other places affected by violence that seem forgotten in the wake of the Paris attacks?
Being supportive of the victims in Paris doesn’t diminish being supportive of the victims of other violence. I will never understand why people think one takes away from another. Can’t we all agree that it’s all horrible and it all needs to change? Can’t we agree that supporting one city’s victims doesn’t take away from the others?
Somewhere in Paris tonight, there are innocent people who have lost their lives for doing nothing more than living their lives. In other places, their loved ones are finding out that their lives have been irrevocably changed. Around the world, we watch the coverage, changed as well and horrified that this is the world we live in. Tragedies like this change you. Forever. Whether your connection to the tragedy is close or not, you never ever forget it. It becomes part of you. 4.16.07 became part of me, and I know today will be that day for so many. I wish we had the answers. I wish we knew how to stop this. We don’t, and I don’t know that we ever will. All we can do is pray for peace, hope for the survivors, and spread love in our lives. #PrayersforParis #Paris #PrayforParis ???❤️
I posted this on my Instagram on Friday night, and it’s still how I feel – just replace Paris with the world. All over the world, innocent people have lost their lives. Their loved ones’ lives have changed forever. With every tragedy, our world is changed forever. The only way to change it for the better is to fight back – with love and understanding. All this violence comes from places of hatred and misunderstanding.
So let’s replace all of that. Let’s teach our children tolerance and understanding. Let’s teach them that it’s okay to be different. We can change the world, one small moment at a time. We just have to try.