Since the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday, I encountered several articles that criticize the way the Western world responded to the tragic loss of life in Paris. While each of these articles bemoans the loss of 132 innocent lives, they also highlight similar atrocities that happened before the Paris attack and were almost completely overlooked.
In a lot of ways this event, and its media response, reminded me of the attack on the Twin Towers in 2001. While the media response to this tragedy has been a little more self-aware, our international reaction has been similar to how it was last time this kind of tragedy affected a Western nation. Rather than discuss the way we responded to these attacks, I wanted to examine why we reacted the way we did.
1) It felt close to home
I remember waking up the morning of 9/11, walking into the living room to see my mom crying. My dad turned to me and told me the world had changed overnight. Hearing about the attacks on Paris gave me the same shiver of fear that I felt that day. I don’t think it’s hard to dissect what motivates that feeling. These particular attacks were frightening because they happened to Western nations, and we in the West are very accustomed to feeling in control. We took control over much of the world during an age of imperialism, colonization, and slavery. Today we continue to control much of the world through unfair aid practices and political manipulation. These kind of attacks are terrifying because they make us feel like we don’t have as much control as we think we do.
On the other side of things, though very few and far between, there is a sentiment in direct opposition. There weren’t many for me, but I think most people will find at least one status that falls roughly along these same lines:
The internet is never silent on the most innocuous of issues, and when it comes to an event as groundbreaking as this one there isn’t a person who can keep from putting in their two cents. As Kat observed last year the words we post online are made subject to scrutiny, with one of the tamest consequences being that someone will voice their disagreement. As another Facebook very wisely tacked on to the end of their status: “*If you do not support gay marriage, please do not respond to this post. This is a genuinely wonderful occasion for many that I love.”
This all connects back to a topic I’ve been meaning to cover for a while, which is the idea of “safe spaces”. It goes beyond simply wanting others to leave a Facebook status as a forum for positivity instead of debate to having a place where we can rest assured we won’t be outright attacked. Continue reading →
Don’t get me wrong, these guys are evil bastards, and while they’re brutal, destructive, and genocidal, that’s probably all they’ll ever be, and they won’t be that for long.
Let me break it down here.
I. Everyone Hates ‘Em
And I mean everyone- not just those unfortunate enough to be targeted by the group. See, the moment these guys came to power in Syria, they enacted a couple social policies, namely, the banning of music and smoking. And readers, let me tell ya, if there’s two things Syrians love, it’s music…
I once had a friend tell me that, in her opinion, being a teenager didn’t stop until you were 23. And that made me feel a little bit better, because teenagers do a lot of dumb things. In general, a lot of dumb things that don’t take into account how they can and will affect the lives of others. For example, the following “prank”:
From one angle, I guess the idea of freaking out shoppers with an over-the-top pratfall, pushed further by an explosion of the liquid of your choice, is kinda funny. From another, more empathetic viewpoint there’s the unavoidable fact that the people working at these supermarkets are going to have to clean up your mess. These people don’t make a lot of money, why are you making their lives more difficult? I mean, dang. Continue reading →