Let’s step outside the western state of mind

Beirut, Lebanon. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
Beirut, Lebanon. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

As I woke up from my weekly Friday nap on Nov. 13, I checked my phone. Expecting a few texts or a Snapchat or two, I was instead greeted with alerts about the Paris terrorist attack. That woke me up immediately.

After the deadly terrorist attacks in Beirut the day before, I didn’t know what to expect. When I heard a concert hall was attacked, my heart broke. People going to end their week with some great music were instead greeted with terror and death. The Islamic State (ISIS) has taken credit for both attacks.

It’s an unfortunate reality we live in now. We hear about these atrocities all the time, and this point, some people might not have the visceral reaction they once had. And honestly, who could blame them? When something like attacks on innocent civilians seems to occur almost everyday, we almost become numb.

My social media accounts are littered with posts about standing in solidarity with Paris. What about the attacks in Beirut? I don’t see anything about standing in solidarity with them on my social media accounts. Whenever a country experiences a terrorist attack, or any type of attack, we have to support them, even if they are not a Western country.

Admittedly, it’s hard to think outside such an American-­centric bubble. France is one of our oldest allies, so of course our support extends to them. But we need to be reminded that these brutalities carried out by ISIS happen everyday in Iraq. Other than some articles in various news outlets, how much attention do we really pay to countries like Syria and Iraq, which are going through attacks like these almost everyday?

I don’t want anyone to think I’m downplaying the Paris attacks, because I am not. They are horrific and despicable. But we need to step outside our typical Western mindset. If as much attention was being paid to the attacks in Beirut as in Paris, who knows what the response would be. Granted, the Beirut attacks didn’t kill as many people as the ones in Paris, but they were still devastating.

Maybe I’m thinking like this because I’m an international studies major and I’m currently taking a class that focuses on terrorism. Or maybe I’m thinking about this because I see news reports about ISIS beheading ethnic Afghanis, including children. Or maybe I’m thinking about this because I’m feeling completely hopeless about this world.

If we open our eyes a little bit more, we will see that we aren’t the only ones affected by these atrocious acts of terror. We can grieve with others who have experienced something like we have. Maybe we could even try working with them. If we look outside our typical Western viewpoint, who knows what we’ll find.


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