The non-stop and ever-connected modern world seemed to pause during the aftermath of the Paris attacks. As the Eiffel Tower shut off its lights in mourning, the rest of the world focused solely on standing in solidarity with the Parisians. Global landmarks lit up in red, white and blue; hashtags dedicated to the tragedy trended across social media and citizens and leaders across the world spoke out to advocate their stance against these attacks. Humanity is seen at it’s worst and best during these events, where on one side we see indiscriminate destruction, while on the other queues of individuals from outside of hospitals to donate blood to the injured.
Paris is a global icon. Show someone a picture of the Eiffel Tower anywhere in the world and they will immediately recognise it as a symbol representing a city steeped in culture that is renowned for food, art, fashion, and romance. We all feel a connection to the city. Many of us have visited the monuments, enjoyed a croissant in a café, and explored the museums; so this is devastatingly personal in a unique way. The closure of attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, which amass an averaged total of 35,000 visitors each day, shows the scale of Friday’s horror – through displaying that the impact from this event will not only be felt by locals, because far more people than the Parisians are able to relate to the city.
The images of bullet holes through quaint French café windows have brought terrorism closer to what we are familiar with: one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions has become a victim of terrible violence, and so the world speaks out. Leaders such as David Cameron and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have release statements to offer condolences and support, evidencing how strikingly this particular tragedy has resonated across the globe.
What is most important to take away from this devastation is not how to keep terrorism far away from the ‘safety’ of the Western world, but rather to use this event to realise that this is a global fight against an inhumane movement that knows no boundaries. Terrorist attacks which have occurred within the past few days in places such as Lebanon and Baghdad are our problems just the same way as are the Parisian attacks. Suicide bombings killed 41 people in Lebanon’s capital and at least 19 at a funeral in Baghdad. Why is the same attention from world leaders or the media not given to such tragic occurrences that occur elsewhere? This is a global issue that requires action not only to preserve the places where we like to go sight-seeing, but to protect the world’s citizens, no matter where they are. Just because we have never been to Baghdad, or cannot visualise the city of Beirut, doesn’t mean they are any less important.