For nearly a week, all eyes have been on Paris after three groups of terrorists carried out coordinated attacks at six locations, killing at least 129 people in the French city.
People quickly added the French flag-themed filter to their Facebook profile pictures and announced their shock and sadness — all testaments of human compassion.
However, other people were confused. Just one day earlier, Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon, suffered its own act of terrorism. A double suicide bombing left 40 people dead.
“The implication, numerous Lebanese commentators complained, was that Arab lives mattered less,” CNN reporter Anne Barnard writes. “Either that, or that their country — relatively calm despite the war next door — was perceived as a place where carnage is the norm, an undifferentiated corner of a basketcase region.”
However, Barnard goes on to report, this incident was the deadliest suicide bombing since 1990, when the country’s bloody civil war ended.
Eventually, more people caught on to the tragedy in Beirut and questioned the imbalance in attention between the two events. Many conclusions were drawn, and though they varied greatly from person to person, one thing became clear: As easily are they are crafted, generalizations are quickly spread, influencing public opinion.
It is probably safe to assume that a good number of Westerners quickly associate Middle Eastern nations with political or social unrest, even if it is not accurate assumption. People may have seen news reports on the Beirut attack and not been fazed because of such stereotyping.
This becomes even more evident when you take into consideration that the Paris attacks were planned in Syria, a country that has been experiencing a massive outpouring of refugees, many of them children. After President Barack Obama’s plan to take in 10,000 of those refugees within the next year was announced, numerous United States governors quickly vocalized disapproval and outright rejection of that plan.
As of printing, 26 states have refused to take in refugees.
Such refusals make us wonder where the consideration went that had caused so many to bombard social media with messages of love and shock after news of the attacks broke.
The claim that all these people are terrorists who, once in the U.S. would ensure the destruction of our nation is absurd. It should be as easy for us to distinguish an entire nationality from a rogue group of extremists as it is to know the difference between the Westboro Baptist Church and all Christians or Donald Trump and American citizens as a whole.
The only thing that can come from hatred and ignorance is more hatred and ignorance.