What I have learned from the Paris Attacks.

Earlier this month, Europe faced its biggest scale attack since 2005, when on 13th November 130 people were slaughtered in various locations in Paris by European national ISIS terrorists. This post will not specifically disclose names of killers for two reasons: some people want to glorify these vicious killers for some sick reason, and I cannot/don’t want to remember their names. Instead I will talk about what I have learned about this incident as it has put a big impact on the conciousness of millions almost to the same extent September 11th did almost 15 years before.

  1. Where you live and how old your are can differ your perspective: As someone like myself who lived in a little peaceful island like Ireland, the idea of suicide bombers in the emerald isle during the 21st century is unthinkable. At the time of the Paris bombing (and at the time of writing this post), I lived in England, only 50 miles from London and 170 miles from Paris. Even though a bombing in my local city is not entirely likely, it made me realize how close to danger I actually was. What if another London attack happens? Even worse, if I happened to be there at that time? With no relatives in that area how are they to know my condition if disaster strikes? I know getting caught in the crossfire is yet again unlikely, but it makes you think about what potential dangers there are nearby. Not only that, as I am now an adult, I have a better understanding of terrorism than I did when I was 8 years old wondering why Cardcaptors wasn’t being shown when there a weird plane crash instead (yes, that was me during 9/11. Don’t judge me.) I personally know Americans that were not only old enough to understand at that time, but are still scarred by 9/11 years later. With the Paris attacks happening recently, I now understand how the Americans felt during 9/11.
  2. You feel helpless in paying tribute: With unusually horrific events like these it is incredibly difficult to fully understand what the survivors and those mourning their loved ones lost in tragedy are experiencing. People begin to debate on what is appropriate and trying to figure out whether of not praying for a tragic event and yet not knowing other events at that time existed automatically makes you a racist. Case in point, the Facebook French flag debate. In the wake of the French attack, Facebook allowed an application to put the French flag colours over profile pictures to anyone who wished to do it. Obviously it was quite popular on social media. However, others took a cynical approach saying it does nothing to solve the issue of terrorism. But neither is it hurting people. The point is that if people simply voice out their solidarity with those who are suffering, it shows that people care. (Just don’t get started on the East vs Media debate here)
  3. Terrorism can make a lot people very racist: Bad guys did very bad things and you end up fearing and hating the enemy. Sure that makes sense. However what makes no sense is to tar people of the same brush due to race and/or religion. The revelation that one of the terrorists was a fake refugee added fuel to the xenophobic fire, making already reluctant right-wing nationalist racists even more racist. With insane and unrealistic solutions such as “kill the muslim fuckers”, “only let Christian refugees in”, and “close the national borders entirely until ISIS is defeated” (the last one I have personally had to unfriend someone on facebook over). The refugees in question are running AWAY from terrorism, not trying to be a part of it! Trying to be hateful towards refugees and settled Muslims is exactly what ISIS wants as it gives them a sense of justification to murder who they believe are “crusaders”. (look it up if you don’t understand what that means)
  4. The general public can be easily misled with false information: One of the biggest criticisms people made over this tragic event is that misinformation and skewing information is very common, especially on the internet. Many myths circulated online including the nationality of the terrorists, the reactions of Muslim citzens towards the attacks, and whether or not the attackers were known to authorities. The biggest issue on spreading misinformation is that many people will easily believe what they have read about, forming unjustified opinions and use it against innocent people, again giving ISIS a reason to continue attacking and recruiting new people.
  5. Stories about the victims prevents taking life for granted: One of the most horrifying and saddest aspects of the Paris attacks and terrorist attacks are the horrifying stories that are told in the aftermath. Eyewitness accounts of people being slaughtered in cold blood inches away from loved ones, stories of people who died alone and scared not being able to say goodbye to their loved ones or say that they loved ones. These stories are important to hear for everyone to hear as they humanise the victims and show that they were people just like everyone else, and they did not deserve to die. And for those who survived have to live with these memories for the rest of their lives in many ways.

I will finish this post with  personal message.

To those who were affected in the Paris Attacks: I am very sorry this happened to you, I am sorry for the loss of your loved ones, and I hope you will find justice and peace from your time of loss and hardship.

To everyone reading this: Be informed, be kind to one another even if they are Muslim, and tell your loved ones how much you love them.

To my loved ones: I love you all so much and I am so grateful that you have made my life happy and worth living.

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