Paris Posts Fail to Solve Crisis

Rachel Jin, Lifestyle Editor

For many, the recent violence in Paris is a sad reminder to the world of the acts of terror that have ravaged the globe over the past 2 decades. For me, they were also a reminder of the battles against terrorism yet to come.

On November 13, 2015, over 120 were killed in Paris, the largest attack on France since World War II.  Sadly, I’m certain this event will, like so many recent acts of violence, just be filed away and forgotten after the initial flood of attention.

I’ve noticed a trend. A bombing or shooting happens. Pictures are posted, hashtags trend, condolences spread. Often, millions of Muslims face incredible backlash for the work of a few people, and the whole of Islam is expected to beg forgiveness. Then, the clamor dies down and the issue disappears from the internet altogether.

It seems like the volume of people in America and the physical distance between them and the perpetrators of such violence makes it too easy to believe in isolationism. “Not my problem,” they say. They write long, sentimental Facebook captions to their #prayforparis posts, only to turn back to their own lives soon after.

Jihad John, the masked jihadist featured in 3 ISIS beheadings, was supposedly killed on November 12. People are already blowing their horns in celebration all over Facebook; “a victory against terrorism,” they call it. Yet I don’t believe it is a significant accomplishment. Terrorism extends far beyond a single person. People have become so nearsighted.  They believe killing an icon will put a stop to the brutality, as if he is the only one who could chop off heads with a machete.

I was pretty content hearing the news, but now I wonder if it would have been better had John been kept alive. His death is a source of false confidence and a distraction from what really needs to be addressed in order to prevent more bloodshed.

I’m obviously not expecting everyone to put their lives on hold and devote themselves to a problem that is not completely in their power to solve. But I do expect it to be taken more seriously.

How many of these attacks need to happen before Americans wake up? How many more lives need to be lost before it hits us, that this requires more that the 5 minutes it takes to post a note on social media? When will we realize that it could be any one of us next time?

Though the deaths in Paris should be a wake up call. Paris was not the first incident, and it certainly won’t be the last. After we finish mourning over those lost we must act effectively to save those we might yet lose.

Yes, terrorism is a complex issue. There are many factors which contribute to it. But it is wrong to think that these factors are beyond the circle of our own lives.  This is not just an issue for those on the other side of an ocean.  It is also wrong to think that killing Osama bin Laden and Jihad John is reason to pat ourselves on our backs and celebrate a job done.

I admit that there was a time, not long ago, when I would have written this article and then forgotten about terrorism altogether until the next attack happened. That time is over. I’ve caught on to the notion that I can very well be the next victim.

No, I don’t have a plan to singlehandedly solve the terrorist crisis, but I do believe we need to do more than post our condolences and support to social media.