On Friday, November 13th, terrorist attacks suddenly shocked the city of Paris. That evening, over 140 people were killed at various venues, including a concert and a restaurant. Many witnesses described it as a brutal and random massacre of as many people as possible. This included mass shootings, suicide bombings, and hostages. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for these attacks, and declared they have plans for other large cities around the world such as Rome and Washington DC.
People around the world have been in a collective panic over this, but they have risen with some strength in order to support those affected. This is a fine act of humanity that comes out of such great shock and horror. Soon, Facebook users were updating their profile pictures with an overlay of the French flag and liking posts of Parisians showing how they continue to live.
However, just as in physics, with every reaction on the Internet comes an equal and opposite reaction. Many angry posts began to arise about the terrorist attacks in the Middle East and less-developed countries lacking attention. This is a fair point and a very true one. There have been many more casualties from terrorism in other countries that got a rise out of people social media.
Here’s why everyone became so active after these recent attacks. Terrorism is certainly not a new development, and it is oldest in those countries. However, somehow these attacks have remained isolated to certain areas and have not affected western countries. We live in a bubble these days, thinking we somehow cannot be attacked, but Paris proved that wrong. The real shock was that people in the U.S. and elsewhere can now see they are in danger and that thought can be debilitating.
The U.S. is not in a bubble, though, and those who witnessed the falling of the Twin Towers on 9/11 know this. But the generation of teenagers and young adults that seem to have a great majority expressing their thoughts and opinions on the world through social media were too young to remember that day. Though millennials and more recent generations are certainly aware that America has been targeted, past tragedies that took place on this soil have simply become a part of the history books; disconnected to any emotion in those who only can read about them.
But Paris, the city of love and the dream destination for many has suddenly become a dangerous place. This caused the realization that any place in the world can become dangerous at any time, overnight. It is a startling thought, but it also connects us to the countries that have faced this fear for years. This uproar of sympathy and new insight can hopefully bridge gaps country to country and build a strong worldwide community.
Featured Picture: Terrorism in France, a country considered to be highly-developed like the U. S., has riveted the nation’s attentions towards the potential threat of ISIL. Picture by Maggie Maher