If you aren’t aware of the recent attacks that took place in Paris, you must live under a rock.
Countless articles have been written regarding the details, video footage has taken over numerous news stations and millions of Facebook profiles photos have been changed to feature the translucent red, white and blue coloring of the French flag.
Needless to say, it’s been a big deal.
Discussions of the attacks have not only centered around the ISIS scare.
They have grown to encompass the problematic influx of Syrian refugees, presidential candidates’ responses to the tragedy, the unfair disregard of the media’s coverage of other terrorist attacks and even criticisms regarding the latest Facebook profile photo revolution.
I’ve seen a number of debatable arguments floating around over the past week, one centered on what is to be done with the Syrian refugees.
That is a good question, a very good one at that.
The idea of bringing thousands of Middle Eastern refugees into our country during this time of terrorism, which is greatly associated with their ethnicity and religion, has, not surprisingly, erupted in two opposing viewpoints.
The meme depicting the 50,000 homeless war veterans in America conveys one obvious perspective of the refugee crisis: We should take the planks out of our own eyes before attempting to take a speck of sawdust out of another’s.
I have to admit that this is a valid point.
The other, perhaps more empathetic, perspective is that the refugees are in need of a safe haven and we, as citizens of the United States, should live up to our reputation of being a melting pot and invite them in.
In my opinion, this is a valid point as well.
At the core of the hesitation is fear – fear of a “potential” World War III, fear of 9/11-esque attacks threatening the U.S. once again, fear of the world ending as we know it.
With the recent influx of terrorism happening around the globe as of recent, including not only the Paris attacks, which took the lives of approximately 129 victims, but also the lesser known attack in Beirut, which took 43 lives and wounded 239, and the most recent 170 person hostage crisis in Mali, fear is an inevitable reaction.
As the White House and state governments debate the proper solution to this – opening the borders and demanding extensive background checks of those we allow in or closing the borders completely – American citizens voiced their opinions.
However, most of them do not factor in the controversies explained above.
Some people have chosen to voice against the perceived unfair media coverage, believing that the Beirut attack was unjustly represented while the Paris attacks took the media by storm. Others, opting to critique the “pointless” change of Facebook profile pictures, posting viral articles taking the confident stance of “I didn’t change my profile picture because … ” hoping to rally people for their cause against the millions upon millions of those supporting the effort.
I perfectly acknowledge the fact that there are two sides to everything and rightfully so. But in cases such as this, we have to ask ourselves: what matters most? The opinions and frustrations regarding these topics do nothing to help the fight against terrorism, I’m sorry to break it to you.
Am I saying that we as Americans should never have a disagreement in opinion or a platform to express it? Absolutely not.
All I can do is share what I believe and I believe that we as inhibitors of this world should unite in fighting this ongoing evil, because that is indeed what we are fighting: an evil, not just a group of people.
Protesting a harmless Facebook profile picture, pointing fingers at those who differ from you, conservatives arguing with liberals, liberals arguing with conservatives, opposing the unfair coverage of media, defending the coverage of media – these are nothing but menial discrepancies when compared to the big picture we are faced with: worldwide terror.
What these disagreements do is divide those who should be united; bring turmoil within the country that strives to boast tranquility.
My heart is filled with sorrow for all of those who have been victim to these attacks, Parisian or otherwise, and as a hopeful soul, I long for the day in which universal peace is achieved. And with this, I advocate the importance of unity, because as the saying goes: united we stand, divided we fall.
Featured Photo Credit: Nov. 18 – Students light candles for the vigil for victims of terrorism, including France, Syria and Lebanon. (Abhijit Kiran Valluri/ For The Bloc)
Jordan Stovka is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.