This past Friday, Nov. 13, the world was shocked with news that a terrorist attack was carried out in Paris, with a death toll of over one hundred. French police forces are currently carrying out over 150 counterterrorism raids and a manhunt for Salah Abdeslam, who is suspected of partaking in the attack. A French airstrike was also carried out on Sunday that targeted Raqqa, an ISIS command center in Syria, after the group claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The attack in Paris was a tragedy, a slaughter, where attack teams targeted unarmed civilians, not soldiers. To carry out an attack like this is an act of cowardice, a despicable act, an act of a person not fit to be associated with the human race.
I wish I didn’t have to counter the politicization of this event only days after it occurred, as I wholeheartedly despise that people have utilized this tragedy as political leverage. This is not a time to argue about gun control or refugees, rather, this is a time to weep not just for Paris, but for humanity.
Just because a person seems to show support only for Paris, does not mean that they don’t care about tragedy in other parts of the world as well. We live in a world with lopsided media coverage; one cannot blame others for not always being aware of every situation that arises. Empathy for the victims in Paris is empathy for all that have suffered in similar attacks, there is nothing that differentiates between those the victims in Paris, and the victims of attacks in Lebanon or Kenya, and so on. We are all equal.
One would think our hearts would have softened to those in peril at a time such as this. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Our state of Kansas, fearing terrorists might gain entry to the country, is among 17 states that want to close their doors for Syrian refugees, in light of the Paris attacks. While I understand the fear of terrorism, this is exactly what ISIS wants us to do, so to promote bitter hatred towards the United States. Consider that the all of the Paris attackers identified so far have been confirmed by the Vice President of the European Commission as citizens of the European Union, not refugees. A Syrian passport was found near the bodies of some attackers, but this was likely planned to promote the fear of the refugees. The passport, possibly fake, was an exact match to one found on a man arrested in Serbia.
I will credit Governor Brownback to say that he did not outright prohibit refugees from settling in Kansas in his official statement, but he has signed an executive order barring all state agencies from assisting refugees in settling in Kansas, forcing them to appeal the federal Department of State and federal Department of Homeland Security. Once again, thanks Brownback.
The influx of hate speech against Muslims following this attack on Paris is also heartbreaking. To think we had made so much progress in separating all Muslims from radical extremists since 9/11, to have such blanket hatred resurge is awful. We must remind ourselves that we cannot blame an entire group for the actions of a few. Just as all Christians are not associated with the Ku Klux Clan, we cannot associate all Muslims with ISIS.
Feel compassion for Paris, the world, and for the refugees still struggling to find a new home. To France, I say let ISIS really have it. Show them the power of a nation united. This has been Mark Feuerborn, signing off on my last printed column for the semester. Je Suis Le Monde.