When we reconvened in room 240 after the weekend, no one mentioned it. The elephant in the room hung over us until someone finally said it: “Should we do something on Paris?” We had a back and forth to determine whether or not as a school-based news website we had an obligation to report on the events of the weekend, and we decided that a short editorial piece would be appropriate, considering our inability to add meaningfully to the innumerable accounts of Friday’s events.
There is no doubt that what happened on Friday evening in the streets, restaurants, concert halls and stadiums of Paris is something that shocked the world into a state of horror and disbelief. The response by the international community gave me faith again in humanity: images of national monuments lit up in the tri-colore circulated Instagram, and profiles on Facebook, a stream of blue, white and red. The victims and the nation of France were embraced by a world united in the values of liberty, equality and fraternity.
Only one day before the tragedy in Paris, 43 Lebanese citizens fell victim to the work of two suicide bombers in the heart of the nation’s capital. Yes, there are questions to be raised about the imbalanced attention towards France, and certainly many explanations; however, suffering like this is absolute, and the tragedies experienced by the French and Lebanese are equal in their violation of the human condition.
Our condolences lie with the victims and families of those dehumanized by last week’s attacks. It is a time of mourning and sadness for the loss of those innocent lives, but also an indication that we need to look forward, towards building a world free from fear. As global citizens we must recognize the very real threat of terrorism and its conduits and vow to protect the values of our free and democratic society. The local communities of Beirut and Paris will heal with time, but how are we going to prevent these wounds from being inflicted so deeply again?