In 2001 the unthinkable came to America as we had to deal with terrorism on our own ground. Up until that time, terrorism was something that happened to other countries, but not us. And when it did, we tended to be apathetic. After all, it wasn’t our problem. Today, the people of France and especially the citizens of Paris, weigh heavy on our hearts. We are no longer apathetic. We are compassionate. If anything that even remotely resembles good is to come from these acts of violence, let it be that we have learned to be compassionate.
Terrorists do what they do for recognition. It is an act and nothing more. We need to focus on the reaction to the act and not the act itself. We cannot ignore the collateral damage but we must not focus on it. The terrorist find strength when we do. We need instead to become focused on the show of strength. As we all reach out to each other in a show of compassion and support, focus on that act. We cannot stop terrorists from their acts of violence, but we can be more aware of each other and the impact we can have in taking away the roots of that terrorism. Good can conquer evil if we work as hard to spread good as they would work to spread evil.
I choose to be a citizen of the world. I will not be apathetic or isolationist. Terrorism is an act but apathy is a disease. Apathy towards each other isolates us and allows our differences to grow into distrust and hate. Only in this environment of hate can terrorist survive and thrive. We need to view our world as one community and to realize that there is no truth in the statement “it’s their problem”.
At the end of the day we cannot stop free will, but we can use our own free will to spread good. We can spread the attitude that we are one world, one community, one family. Good can conquer evil if we work as hard to be compassionate as they would work to permeate hate. Our hearts are with you Paris and our arms are open to give you solace.