On Friday night, the entire world was rocked by the news that Paris had been the target of a devastating terrorist attack orchestrated by ISIS. 129 dead, countless others critically injured. People who had been out, enjoying a normal Friday night with friends were murdered in cold blood. Immediately, the world spoke out: Nation’s leaders like Barack Obama made announcements that they would stand in solidarity with France. Monuments all over the globe lit up with the colors of the French flag.
What happened in France was tragic. It is a horrible attack on the free world and the values we all hold dear. But it is not the only attack orchestrated recently by ISIS, and to pretend so is another tragedy in and of itself.
On Thursday, just a day before the attacks on Paris, Beirut (a city in Lebanon) was the victim of a double suicide attack. 43 people lost their lives. But where is there story? Where are the world leaders pledging their support to the country of Lebanon? Where are the world monuments lit up with the colors of the Lebanese flag? (Which is red, white and green if you were wondering). They’re nowhere to be found. The attack in Beirut was swept under the rug by most popular news outlets. Elie Fares, a Lebanese doctor, put it perfectly: “Their death was but an irrelevant fleck along the international news cycle, something that happens in THOSE parts of the world.”
The fact is, when horrible things happen in parts of the world we ourselves do not identify with, we brush it off. We say it is typical of that region. But, when something happens in Paris, a city so similar to American cities like New York City and Los Angeles, it shakes us to our very core. Why are we only concerned about people like us? Why does our compassion not extend to countries like Lebanon? Do we not care?
It is right to mourn the horrible attack on Paris. But, while we are mourning that loss, remember that there are other regions of the world that are suffering their own losses. Paris was not the only victim. In order to defeat ISIS, we have to acknowledge every one of their victims; otherwise, we are weak while they remain strong.