On the night of Nov. 13, Paris and its nearby suburb were the targets of one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in recent years. Nearly 130 people were found dead, and more than 350 were injured.
Words do not come easily when facing a tragedy of this magnitude, and they should be chosen very meticulously in days like these.
This is not an easy task in a time and place where every passing idea or newborn opinion can be formed, packaged and expedited in a matter of seconds, delivered to the entire world with no necessity of stepping back and taking the time to give it another thought. These words have consequences.
Last Friday’s atrocities are still fresh, and yet we already have seen a circus of reactions in every form imaginable, with the most sensational and eye-catching of- ten outshining the thought-out and rational takes on this immensely complex issue we have to face.
But that issue is nothing new. We have seen over and over again the degree of inhumanity that still persists in this 21st century.
In fact, we see it so much that we are desensitized to it. It becomes routine to see headlines
announce hundreds of cruel deaths occasioned in far-away countries. They become images of a vague and abstract world outside our cultural bubble, to which we are detached and whose pains we cannot relate to despite the ever-so “effective” means of communication.
But when the horrors of the outside world break into our back- yard, it starts hurting. Suddenly, we catch a glimpse of the everyday reality of so many other parts of the world. That is when fear strikes, and everyone tries to seek different ways to find comfort.
For some, comfort can be found in spending time with their loved ones, continuing to live life and enjoying our liberties and lifestyles that are so clearly under attack. Some find comfort in any form of nationalism and unity. Some find comfort in consolidating their anguish toward simplified targets, referring to Islam when speaking of radicalized fanatics and closing their doors to the ones in need of relief from that same violence.
Waves of newfound patriotism surface, and everyone wants to exalt and spread the pride of be- longing to a nation and its colors— a nation of educated people with high standards of living, that no atrocity will keep from enjoying the liberties that previous generations fought and died to establish.
Speaking of liberties, the Agence France-Presse published the results of a poll that suggested that 84 percent of French people are willing to reduce those very liberties for a greater sense of security.
The French flag is erected everywhere, and under it remains the 4th largest arms exporter (the U.S. is by far number one), who for economic reasons sends business-men to shake hands with the big shots of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, whose deep pockets overshadow their poor human rights records and support for forms radical Is- lam. France reached record numbers in weapon sales this year.
Rise in nationalism, securitarianism, militarism and then here we are, forced into another war in the Middle East, fighting a lethal enemy born out of the violence and despair of the previous war, and which will eventually be succeed- ed by a meaner one.
There is no right answer, nor magic solution. We are left with the option of watching men of power in shiny suits debate their interests, ordained to pick up the tab and pay in common human lives for what- ever comes of it.