Innocents lost in Paris attacks: staying human in times of fear
By Jenna Seyer, Staff Writer
This past Friday multiple attacks were carried out in Paris in six different locations. Over 120 innocent people lost their lives. At least 100 others were held hostage during a concert before Paris police intervened. Being the deadliest violence Paris has seen since World War II, this act of terrorism shook the world in a matter of minutes. We continue to grieve for those who died and for the families of those lost in the massacre.
Hate is not a solution. Murder is not a solution. War is not a solution.
What separates us from terrorists, what divides us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn for individuals we’ve never met. It’s our human capacity to feel that helps us get through these awful tragedies. Honestly, I cannot even begin to describe what it must have been like that Friday evening and during the bloody aftermath of the attacks—like ash-covered streets, terror in the eyes of Parisians, dark clouds of smoke enveloping a world that had been shattered only days ago. It is beyond my understanding to envision a situation where everything we’ve ever known is turned upside down, when our humanity becomes the only thing we can hold on to before our freedoms are taken away.
Terrorism feeds on fear, on vulnerability, on those who believe that they have no purpose or nothing for which to fight. From recruiting people on social media to leaving messages inked in blood on our buildings, terrorists will not stop. There is nothing more frightening than a group that strongly believes in a crazy mission to damage the Western world. As a college student, I am constantly surrounded by the possibility of something happening to my own campus community. Through news of university shootings, bomb threats in cities and the most recent attacks in Paris, I am fully aware that life here at Gettysburg College can change at any moment without warning, without cause.
Despite times of fear and uncertainty, we must remain human. We must not show our fear, even if it is the only thing that keeps us from falling apart. To be human is to represent a symbol of peace and justice in society. To be human is to act heroically when no one is watching, free from selfish motive and the desire for fame. To be human is to listen to the story of an individual in mourning, to give hope to someone who cannot find faith in life, to love the unloved. We must continue to lend support to countries in need and we must unite against relentless, selfish and cowardly acts of violence.