The recent terrorist attacks that were carried out at six different places simultaneously in Paris, France on Friday, Nov. 13 made people realize that there is no place on earth where one can definitely be safe.
The terrorists, who are part of the fundamentalist group called the Islamic State (IS), separated into three groups. One group’s destination was a soccer stadium Stade de France where a friendly game between France and Germany was happening at the time and where the French president, Froncaise Hollande, was present as well. Another group opened fire at the Bataclan, a concert hall where the band Eagles of Death Metal was performing, and the third group went into random cafés and restaurants and started shooting at civilians.
In the wake of all this, Facebook created a feature where one can change their profile picture to a backdrop of the colors of the French national flag: three horizontal stripes of blue, white and red. Some people chose to use the feature, while others didn’t.
It started a discussion that using the feature would only bring attention to the recent terrorist attacks in France and disregard the daily killings and bombings in Syria, Iraq and other parts of the world.
I agree with them. We should pray for all of humanity, not just for France. However, what draws so much attention to the terrorist attacks in France is the fact that Syria and Iraq, where IS has claimed territory, is nowhere near French territory geographically.
The reality is that IS recruiters lure citizens from all over the world to join their fundamentalist cause in Syria, radicalize them and send them back to their countries to carry out and/or attempt to carry out terrorist attacks on innocent civilians on their own soil. As a result, people in allegedly safe countries realize that there is no safe place in the world.
At the end of the day, the Facebook feature is a trivial device that people use to show their solidarity with the French people. It wasn’t meant to make other groups of people more important than another. No terrorist attack should be described as more tragic than another.
President Obama said at a press conference shortly after the attacks, “This is an attack not just on Paris, an attack on not just the people of France, [but rather] an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.”
A terrorist attack could happen in any country or even any city at any time. But when a terrorist attack has taken place, the best response would be to reflect on it for a while, but then continue living our lives the way we want to.
If we give in to fear, we also give in to terrorism and fundamentalism. Followers of such groups will see it as encouragement. Let’s keep believing in our values and continue expressing our opinions, because in times like these, we have to.