What happened in Paris is absolutely horrendous. I will not pretend that I can fathom the horror experienced in those final moments or the grief that families are experiencing.
Yet let us not forget the obvious asymmetries in the valuation of human life on our planet. The stark reality is that we are not equal. As such the tragedies that erupt and befall us do not register the same response. Be it coverage, hash tags, safe buttons or swift condemnation by leaders. A very selective consciousness results.
With news at our finger tips, we are exposed to the impacts of brutality within minutes of an event. I can empathise with the scope and scale being overwhelming for an individual to process. There is untold violence and injustice that is juxtaposed against our noble ideals. There is a climate of fear and despondence that can prevail over us like a looming shadow. One might even suggest that this is precisely the intent of such attacks - to preserve a paradigm.
In contrast, there can also be great solidarity that is formed as a courageous response to violence. Perhaps it is the skeptic in me that seeks to pick at the seams. That seeks to test the true strength of our commitment to peace and compassion. For it is increasingly common for us to condemn the heinous acts of terror , at least those that are brought to our attention. Understandably, the intensity of our emotions wither in the ensuing days, weeks and months. For to even entertain the scale of the violence we inflict upon each other, both physical and psychological, could leave us utterly despondent. I am not suggesting that we ought to strive for symmetrical outrage across all tragedies that occur. That is an odious aspiration in my view. We can and must do better.
I remain interested in how we think and behave in the aftermath. Before the seemingly inevitable tragedy that will follow. Do we accept it as part of our nature? Do we , rather naively I might add, frame this as a battle between good and evil forces? Do we fan the flames of bigotry and prejudice, against Islam for instance?
If we are truly committed to being custodians of peace for all, we must be relentless in our passion to bring it to life in the day to day. Be it in our interactions across difference, in the ideas we promote, the policies we support and the lifestyles we lead. For we are often unsuspecting participants in this paradigm. Through the militarization we support, the poverty we ignore and the inequity we promote and the vulnerable we denigrate. Beyond expressions of sympathy, we must be authors of a new story.