#Pray For Paris…and the refugees

This week, terrorists claiming ties to ISIS set off bombs in Paris that killed over 127 people, left 99 in critical condition, and wounded 352. Over 100 people were captured and held hostage in a concert hall as well. On their social media, ISIS claimed that “This attack is the first of the storm and a warning to those who wish to learn.” Some of the assailants also died due to suicide bombing. This horrific accident has devastated many people worldwide and re-established ISIS as a constant threat to current society. However, the people of this world are resilient, and immediately began to do their best to help those in need. The hashtag Pray For Paris took social media by storm, helping to draw awareness to the issue. Another hashtag, Porte Ouverte, was used to offer sanctuary to those fleeing the chaos. Even the expected wave of Islamophobia was initially drowned in the hashtag Terrorism Has No Religion. President Obama released a statement calling this tragedy an “attack on all of humanity” and condemning the terrorists responsible. Around the world, major buildings were lit up in the colors of the French flag in a massive show of solidarity.

However resilient the rest of us may be, these attacks have crippled a large group of humanity’s number: Syrian refugees. The actions of the few terrorists who infiltrated their ranks has understandably deflated efforts to find these poor people a home and validated the fears of many who see the compassion of their governments as an invitation to tragedy. Politicians from France are already beginning to veer towards the right and people are beginning to talk about ending the EU’s open door policy, something normally only heard from the extreme anti-immigrant movement. Sad as it may be, these fears are completely real and warranted. I myself have spent every night since the attacks contemplating a way for the governments of first-world countries to accept the disenfranchised without accepting the risk that they come with, and there may not be one. This question is not one with an easy answer; this answer must be found however, because the lives of many people are at risk whether they be Syrian or American. These refugees aren’t  the only ones at risk however, as the backlash of Islamophobia that was contained on social media has exploded on other fronts. French mosques are being closed under the assumption that they foster “hate preachers”, and presidential hopeful Jeb Bush said that “our focus ought to be on the Christians”. Another presidential hopeful, Rick Santorum, has declared he doesn’t want us taking in any refugees at all. This just is the icing on the cake for the nativist sentiments on the rise in Europe and America as of late, and I fear things may come to a head between natives and immigrants sooner than expected.

Despite all of this evidence to the contrary, I believe the human race has the strength and patience to overcome this tragedy. We have dealt with worse and we have always overcome it. ISIS has struck a decisive blow against the greater good of humanity, but we won’t be down for long. There is already talk of military retribution, and as we pass through this crucible, our resolve to halt this evil is hardening. As time goes by one thing is becoming clear: humanity cannot and will not allow these fanatics to impair or demoralize us, we will not allow them to separate us; we will come together and we will forge ahead. I believe in us, and I hope you do too.

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