So…I have been seeing all the posts about Paris. It has effected me. Deeply. I have been trying get some emotional grip as to why the Paris terrorist attack has reeled my heart into a debilitating state of fear. My son and his fiance live in Chicago – a city that could very well be the target of such an attack. My family is on Cape Cod – a long drive from where I now live. My friends are located all over the world from LA to Boston to Florida to NYC to Italy to France and Canada. I worry about such an atrocity in any one of hundreds of neighborhoods where I have emotional ties and bonds that are family or like family to me. And I am here, in DC, alone with my puppies and no real network of support if something like this shows up close to home. I never thought that being alone was a bad thing. Until now.
And I watch as the newsfeeds are peppered with atrocities that now include the bombing in Beruit a few days ago and the attack on the college campus in Kenya back in April. Sadly, I knew nothing about either. But we all heard about Paris.
I do not have answers to the question why – I don’t ask why anymore. I do not have an understanding as to the logic here either. I do know that we are americans and live in a country that is free from most terror and atrocities that occur in places like Beruit and Kenya.
When I did some research, I was horrified to learn that Kenya has been under seige since the 70’s when a nightclub was bombed in Nairobi. The string of terror attacks has been prevalent in Kenya since that time with the most recent at Garissa University College where almost 150 young students were mercilessly murdered in their dorm by terrorists.
Beruit, much like Kenya has suffered at the hands of terrorists for hundreds of years; and most recently experienced another tragic bombing at the hands of extremists who are proud to detonate a bomb contained in a vest and belt of a suicide bomber.
So, now we see all the outpouring of support for Paris yet nothing like it for Beruit and Kenya. I had to wonder – it has become a very emotional and sensitive subject in the newsfeeds of all social media.
Paris, much like the US is a peace loving place to live. Our lifestyle expectations are very much in line with what we actually experience. We expect to sit at a streetside cafe to enjoy a latte with our friends and families without incident. We expect that we can attend a concert among thousands of others who are passionate about heavy metal without incident. I am pretty sure that our experiences of our day to day lives never amount to much drama beyond silly things like a friend acting stupid, a colleague acting direspectful or a child misbehaving. That pretty much sums up our expectations of violence occuring in our daily lives. We live a similar charmed life as the Parisians and the Italians and the Greeks and … and… and the millions of people who reside in countries where a suicide bomber detonating in the middle of a city center is such a foriegn concept. Beyond our wildest imagination.
Therein lies the root of the problem. I wanted to simply understand. To wrap my head around this question. Not ask why but to understand the cause and effect. Because deep within me, I am feeling this remorse for not even KNOWING that Kenya has been suffering through terrorist attacks since I was a young child. I had NO IDEA that a similar attack occurred in Beruit.
So why is Paris so heartwrenching?
Because Paris more represents the lifestyle that 90% of the free world comes to experience on a day to day basis. No one lives the conditions or can relate to the tragedies of Kenya and Beruit. The free world just shrugs its shoulders in a moment of acceptance for what has come to be commonplace in countries like Kenya and Lebanon. The vast contrast is hearbreaking and embarrasing. The news from Kenya and Beruit is always about war. It’s about tragedy. We are numb to the pain because we have come to expect that those places have found ways to deal with the trauma. We just don’t know any better.
I don’t watch the news. I do not start my day researching global events. I focus on things that I can control. I cannot control bombs detonating around the world. So, I focus on what I want to expand in my world. I am wondering if social media and facebook has become a deteriment to our entire societal structure in every way possible. Based on Paris, I would say that I am more and more convinced that shutting down social media will better our lives exponentially. Through the newsfeeds and sadness, we end up engaging the terrorists in ways that we do not intend. But it’s happening and terrorists are happy about this effect on the global stage – they have twitter accounts for fuck’s sake! They are winning the war by connecting to each and every one of us through #prayforparis post’s trending around the world right now.
What more do we need to wake up?
The world is a much more aware place than ever before. Social media has connected us all in ways that we never thought possible. I am pretty sure that what happened in Paris is going to be more commonplace for peace loving cities around the world.
And until we take a stand against ALL terrorist attacks then we’ll remain numbed out in the stream of newsfeeds and in our daily lives at the horror of 11/13 in Paris while simultaneously ignorant of the same attacks occuring daily in places like Kenya and Beruit.
And it needs to stop.