It’s hard not to feel completely empty this morning. My stomach is clenched and I am uneasy. I look outside and it’s raining. Drops on my window, the world is grey.
The events that happened in Paris over the weekend are beyond the realm of reason. How can people in the name of religion kill so barbarically? Faith is built on the foundations of love yet this has become so critically skewed in the minds of extremists.
France has become the corner stone of freedom of speech in the Western world. It is immensely proud of its sovereignty and has worked hard to win and maintain it. Although I don’t agree with France’s vehement nationalism, I support the fact it is a bastion for truth and liberty. It has been under a year since the Charlie Hebdo attacks and I can’t begin to imagine how Parisians are feeling.
Saying this I hope and prey that France’s President, Francois Hollande, will respond with understanding and not hatred. Violence can only perpetuate more violence and hasn’t the world had enough? What makes me really sick is when refugees are blamed and attacked for the actions of their religious minority. They are fleeing from the death and destruction that has been caused by war, NOT trying to cause more war. Although it was absent in the media, 80 refugees had their homes set alight and demolished in the refugee camp in Calais. Although the fire in the camp was supposably due to an electric wire, and not because of the Paris attacks on Friday, the fact that 80 refugee homes were lost but not as heavily reported on shows the lack of coverage in the media, and I still do believe refugees are being scapegoated for some forms of extremism These people have already been scapegoated for our country’s economic downfalls, we must not let them be scapegoated and ostracised for this.
In the wake of such horror it’s easy to turn to hatred and blame. It’s a lot harder to attempt to understand and rationalise. There are many evils in the world but we do not let it define humanity. Similarly as the KKK does not represent Christianity, ISIS and Al Qaeda do not represent Islam.
120 people died last night in a terrible, inexcusable attack. How many people die in Syria every month? How many Afghanis have been displaced because of war? The answer to these questions: 5000 every month since July and approximately 3.7m since the war on terror. I am not taking away from the pain of those in Paris, I am simply stating we should show solidarity and empathy to all those suffering. It is often considered not “newsworthy” to report on incidents where white, westerners have not been involved. This is an injustice to those who want to know the full story, those who care about the world, and those who understand that the media can be a biased and prejudiced machine.
Going forward we need to think about the best way to overcome the hatred polluting the world. We need to unify and ask questions and not act upon our visceral reactions. We are born to help others. There is still a lot of love in the world but after events like last night, it just takes a little reminding.
By Anna Butler
(Disclaimer: Opinion pieces do not necessarily represent the views of Platform Magazine, Nottingham Trent University or Nottingham Trent University Students’ Union)