In light of everything that has happened these last few days, it is time for us to take a moment to remember just how lucky we are to live in this country and attend the Claremont Colleges. Through all of the fighting, animosity, and inflammatory rhetoric, we who attend these schools still have the luxury of feeling safe as we crawl into bed at night. We have the luxury of not having to worry that our friends, parents, or loved ones will be the victims of barbarity––a privilege that many in this world are not accorded.
Multiple acts of terrorism took place in the last few days: in Paris, Baghdad, and Beirut. The Beirut attack in particular has drawn the attention of many; it occurred the day before the Paris bombings, was largely ignored by the Western media, and likely would have been forgotten had Paris not suffered a similar tragedy. I have heard rumblings and seen posts on social media concerning this seemingly callous oversight, interspersed with questions as to why the sufferings of Paris eclipse those of Beirut. The answer is quite simple; an attack on a Western city like Paris is a rarity, while the attack in Beirut is a common, almost daily occurrence. Events that are this common are not striking or newsworthy, especially in today’s 24 hour news cycle. They happen so often that we simply consider them the norm.
So with all of the troubles and inconveniences that we students have propounded in the previous week, try and let the brutal attack on Beirut sink in. Let it sink in that there are places on this Earth where death and destruction are so common as to warrant only a cursory mention by the media and virtually no mention by us students. Places where a parent burying their child is deemed a mere commonality. Places where there are no safe spaces, no free speech, and no support for people with “marginalized identities.” Cast in this light, what are our troubles but petty differences and trivialities? Can we not take a hard look at the inhumanity occurring around the world, decide to set aside our differences, and be bigger than our problems?
5C students, realize that evil does not sit next to you in a classroom. It does not eat in the same dining hall as you, sleep in the same dorm as you, or go to the same classes as you. Evil is not your fellow students. The attacks in Beirut, Paris, and Baghdad are evil. And it is against those atrocities that we should be protesting, against those savage acts that we should be fighting. We should not quarrel amongst ourselves because of foolish differences; we must recognize that there are problems in this world bigger than ourselves, bigger than our schools. Do not continue to fight and divide on the basis of race or creed, such things are insignificant compared to the suffering all around us. Every student, myself included, should realize that we all have privilege, we all have luxuries and––most of all––we are lucky to be students at the Claremont Colleges.
Image: Wiki Commons