I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. –Frederick Douglass
Within 24-hours, attacks perpetuated by the same terrorist organization killed 129 in Paris, 44 in Beirut and 26 in Baghdad – and this speaks nothing of the hundreds wounded in those three cities.
And let’s not forget the Russian passenger plane that was brought down two weeks ago, killing all 224 people on board. Dare I mention the people of Syria, who are dying as they flee their war-torn country in search of normalcy? Or the horrible atrocities that affect people around the globe every day, that are often a mere blip in your newsfeed?
Note the emphasis on people. No matter which country you hail from, or where you reside now. Regardless of your religion, your skin color, your whatever. We are all people sharing this planet. People with wishes, dreams, aspirations. People who laugh, cry and sing. People who go to the market. People with bills to pay. People with music to listen to and books to read.
None of us are entirely great, nor wholly without sin. We see it every day in others and in ourselves. We are an imperfect species, beautiful in one breath and terrible in the next.
It’s a battle as old as our bones; any history book will tell you that. No matter how far we come, we continue to have so very far to go. We abolish one horrific act and somewhere, someone else perpetuates another. It is an ongoing battle, a leaky hose that refuses to be fixed. We tell ourselves it will never truly end, so why bother trying? We go about our days, keep our head down, and hope for the best. We live our lives, only occasionally – especially on days like today – stopping to ask that we be allowed to do so until the natural end of our days.
But not everyone is so fortunate. Not everyone will have that wish granted. Not everyone can take the day for granted and continue to hope for the best. And so it goes for the many lives lost, and the countless lives impacted, in yesterday’s senseless acts. And because it is all indeed so very senseless: the world's heart is aching.
We are all embroiled in an ongoing battle between light and dark. For some people, the latter triumphs. Hopelessness turns to hate, and the monster grows from within. As strange as it might seem, I feel sorry for those people. Anyone who loses their humanity – anyone who fails to appreciate the delicate nature of life – has lost the war, regardless of however many battles they think they win. And we must, as a people sharing this planet – as a species simultaneously capable of beauty and terror – always strive for beauty to win out.
Because we are, at our core, so much better than all of this.