I’m sure by now we are all well aware of the events that have taken place in Paris, France this past weekend. (For those still in the dark, scroll through your Facebook timeline and you will soon find answers to your questions [or click here].)
As I sat and read the headlines and watched footage of the events happening in Paris Friday night, my heart broke for the people killed and the thousands of family members and friends affected by this awful situation.
In the ensuing moments after the first news broadcast of the events, I observed the social media outbreak as #PrayforParis began to trend, people posted stories of when they had visited Paris, and profile pictures were changed to a French flag to signify prayer and support for the French people.
But I didn’t do any of this. While I support the motive behind most of those who have followed the wave and do not have a problem with those who did, I want to explain my personal reason for avoiding following this social media pattern.
As many have now found out, the attacks in Paris were only one of multiple terrorist attacks that occurred this past weekend.
On Thursday in Beirut, Lebanon, a suicide bomber marched into a suburb of Beirut killing nearly 50 people and injuring over 200 (click here for more information).
In a similar situation, two suicide bombers entered central Baghdad, Iraq last Thursday killing over a dozen and injuring dozens more (click here for more information).
But neither of these events received much notice in America.
Two and a half weeks ago I read multiple news articles about a Russian airplane that suddenly disappeared mid-air shortly after departing from Egypt. It was later found crashed into the Sinai Peninsula killing all 224 passengers. Although at first it appeared to have been an accident, it only took a a few days for pieces of the puzzle to come together which proved that this also was a terrorist attack by ISIS (click here for more information).
What does this have to do with Paris and my decision to not post statuses and photos to show support?
I see a problem in the fact that everyone knows about the events in Paris and is showing their support while I have yet to see one friend of mine post anything about the Russian plane crash and only a few posts about the other attacks.
The problem is that the media only feeds us what we want to hear. Paris is an international city with many connections to America. It’s a key tourist location and Paris is a sister-city of our very own Chicago.
But Beirut? Baghdad? Egypt? These are only names we hear when talking about ISIS, war, and political conflicts in the Middle East (and surrounding areas).
We live in a very self-centered world. We worry more about our own problems than others; and even when we do care about others’ problems, it’s generally when it has some sort of connection to us.
When a terrorist bombing occurs in the Middle East or a plane is bombed in Egypt it doesn’t get much press; but when it is in Western Europe, it perks our ears.
So that is why my Facebook remains French-less. Not out of an egotistical, I’m-better-than-you perspective, but in a desire to not focus solely on Paris and forget about the same atrocities happening elsewhere.
I do not want anyone to think I am underplaying the ISIS attacks in Paris. What happened last Friday night was awful and the first thing I did after reading about it was gather with a group of others to pray. The thoughts still linger in my mind and I’m continuing to pray for those affected–but for those affected by the other terrorist attacks.
I realize that I am still ignorant in many of the international events that occur on a daily basis and I too did not step up and post about these other tragic events mentioned above. But as I have grown more in a love for God’s world and the people in it, my heart burns to see awareness brought to all of what is truly going on worldwide.
So let us not turn a blind eye to those suffering in other parts of the world just because their culture, values, and life is different than ours. Let us unite as one not just for the French in their suffering but with all peoples and pray for God to bring His peace to a suffering and needy world.