Last Friday night, horror struck in France’s capital city on a scale that shocked the world. Terrorists bearing AK-47s and wearing bombs on their chests attacked at least six sites around the city. When all was said and done, 128 people lay dead, including a young man visiting from his home of Martha’s Vineyard, and countless others were left injured and traumatized. The attacks were the work of ISIS, a terrorist group based in Syria. Eight fully armed ISIS militants were positioned at strategic locations in Paris that night, and seven of them were killed in the ensuing violence. ISIS assumed full responsibility for the attacks in an attempt to create fear in the western nations.
Rather than fear, however, ISIS is being met with a desire for justice and revenge. The French President Francois Hollande described the bombings as an “act of war,” and are in fact the most violence Paris has seen since World War II. The American government offered their aid and condolences to the French, and Obama said, “This is an attack not just on Paris, not just on the people on France, but an attack on all humanity and the universal values we share.” Despite the tragic events that took place just a few days ago, the world has united in support for Parisians. Landmarks such as the Empire State building in New York City, Tower Bridge in London, and the angel de la Independencia in Mexico were lit up with red, white and blue lights in the pattern of the French flag on Friday night. The hashtag #pray4paris was created and circulated around the word on every social media imaginable in a matter of a few hours. In addition, many Muslims have taken to using the tag #notinmyname to emphasize that only a small percentage of followers of their religion are willing to kill for their beliefs. Rather than the terror they hoped to unleash, ISIS has been met with strength and resiliency from human goodness.
In the wake of events such as this terrorist attack, it is important to remember that bombings and shootings such as this one occur almost daily throughout the Middle East. Families lose their homes in a second, and mothers rarely live to see their children grow old. Thousands of refugees are fleeing the war-torn region looking for safety, some never finding it in their dangerous journeys across mountains and seas. It is easy to lose sight of the big picture: that the terror we are experiencing now has been increasing for years in the Middle East.