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Sunday, 15 November 2015

Thinking About Paris

Thinking About Paris

As I'm sure all of you are aware, Paris suffered a senseless attack on Friday. The city that I came to know and love during my four months there is in a state of lockdown, and it's people are left scared and vulnerable. It sickens me to think of this beautiful place with it's kind and caring inhabitants, inflicted with such violence and hatred. As my newsfeed flooded with friends declaring their safety I breathed a sigh of relief, and then felt a pang of sadness for the victims and their families who were so cruelly hurt.

We feel some of the Parisian pain because for many of us it is in our backyard. For my British friends and family, an attack like this is a shocking reminder that violence can happen anywhere. The Charlie Hebdo attacks occurred the day I flew out and I remember the panic of my loved ones, worried for my safety. But violence and hatred are hurting people all over the world, and less attention is paid to those elsewhere.

In Beirut this week two suicide bombers killed 43 people and wounded more than 200. Their mourning is as every bit as great as France's right now, their victims just as innocent and undeserving. In Afghanistan 33,165 people died this year in conflict, in Iraq the number stands at 13,509, and in Africa 10,882 from Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad have been killed at the hands of Boko Haram. But we become desensitised to these numbers because their suffering is beyond our comprehension, so we forget that they too are people: they too are hurt at the hands of terror.

Paris is my favourite city in the world, but I shouldn't let it's suffering blind me to the other terrible atrocities occurring throughout the world. As we help our French friends, we should remember that the Syrian refugees that are carelessly talked about in the news are as every bit as scared. Worse, they've had to flee their homes and risk everything to find a safer home. Thinking about their suffering does not minimise what happened in Paris, rather it demonstrates a shared humanity that grieves for all.

So let's take a moment to think about them: to pray for any innocent victim of violence, and do all we can to fight against hatred. Because these attacks will continue to occur whilst we section off nationalities and only care about those whose stories resonate with us. We are all people, and inhumane attacks will continue to occur when we forget that.

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