Through My Spectacles: Stop twisting Paris to spread more hate


“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.”

Maya Angelou


129 dead.

My heart sunk, too heavy to be held in place by my arteries and veins when news of the Paris attacks started pouring in. But the constant tightness in my chest was nothing new, my heart feels heavy every day.

The bodies, strewn across the streets of Paris like bloodied ragdolls, wouldn’t stop piling up. People frantically searching to see if one was their husband or daughter or cousin.

For a second, I thought I could hear one cry: the world grieving together.

If I did, if there was a sound, it must have been silenced quickly because suddenly it was no longer about Paris. It was about those “ungrateful” students at Mizzou and Yale fighting to feel safe on their own campuses who apparently know nothing of pain and oppression. Or that “foolish” Obama being too concerned with climate control. Or how Paris wouldn’t have happened if everyone was packing.


How is Paris related to any of those things? Just because something disgustingly horrific happened in Paris does not diminish the validity of those students fighting against the discrimination they have faced on college campuses for years, or the fact that rising temperatures are heavily impacting the environment, or that shoving guns in everyone’s pockets will never be the solution to anything. Don’t use Paris as an excuse to categorize issues, to diminish people’s pain.

But no, the stupidity did not end there.

As I was watching Paris unfold on my small television screen in my quiet house, I kept hoping that ISIS was not behind the attacks because I knew people would take the attacks as another reason to denounce Islam. And when ISIS took responsibility, France described the attacks as a “declaration of war on the French State.”

But what I didn’t understand about that statement was the fact that France has been launching airstrikes against the Islamic State since September. Wasn’t war declared a long time ago?

There is absolutely no excuse for the barbarism ISIS exhibited on November 4, and long before then, but what I also didn’t/don’t understand is how the West continuously acts as if they do nothing wrong. As if we don’t blow up innocent people all the time, as if the rest of the world’s anger is unwarranted. And yet, our anger is always justified—we do nothing wrong and people just hate us for no reason.

That kind of hate, that kind of malevolence, the kind that pushes you to strap a bomb to yourself and obliterate people—including yourself— does not just grow from nothing.

So in this time of grief, I choose not to lash out but to try and understand the pain and hatred that is out there because I see it everywhere and I do not understand how the earth can still be held up by gravity with so much of it. I also choose not to grieve just for Paris, but for all the tragedies out there that go unnoticed and have been forgotten in the wake of Paris: 40 killed in Beirut, 147 killed in Nairobi, Kenya; 18 dead in Abuja, Kenya; 146 dead in Kobani, Syria; 70 dead in Leego, Somalia; 145 Kukawa, Nigeria; 180 dead in Khan Bani Saad, Iraq.

Whether it is an African, Muslim, Turkish, French, British—whatever kind of life it is, I pray for them all.