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A Day Everyone Remembers Where They Were

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BC chapter.

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

There are some days when important things happen in the world and you remember where you were when it happened. On September 11, 2001 I was five years old and I woke up to go to school and as I was walking to find something my Dad walked through the front door. I asked him what he was doing home and he said that his building, the tallest building in San Francisco, was closed. I gave him a hug because he was my Dad and then I continued on with my life. On December 25, 2004 I was on the couch at my grandparents house watching countless hours of CNN, depicting the horrors of the earthquake and tsunami that had hit Asia. On May 2, 2011 I walked out of a movie to see an alert on my phone saying, “Osama bin Laden is dead.”

There are some days that you will remember for the rest of your life. On November 13, 2015 I was waiting at the gate for my flight when the TV started reporting that ten people were dead in Paris after a shooting outside two cafes. By the time I got off the plane in Los Angeles six and a half hours later, the death toll was at 120.

I’ve taken the news hard, as I’m sure a lot of people have, because I’ve been to Paris. I’ve walked those streets and I’ve been to those neighborhoods. Paris is my favorite city in the world and learning that my favorite city was attacked broke my heart. By the end of the night 129 people were dead and the number is expected to increase (at last I’ve heard, the death toll is at 133).

But then soon after it happened, social media blew up. The guilt trip was everywhere. “Where were your prayers for Beirut when a suicide bomber killed 43 people?” “Why does Paris deserve all the attention when the Syrian refugees face this every day and nobody cares?” “Japan just had an earthquake and nobody is focusing on that.” “Brazil is having a major environmental catastrophe and yet all the media’s airtime and column inches are for Paris.” People are upset that Facebook published the French flag filter for profile pictures because it was for the Parisian attack and not for the other attacks that are happening around the world.

Umm, I can think of a reason that the Parisian attack deserved a filter: because 129 people died.

So stop.

It seems to me that all anyone cares about is how the Paris attack just reinforces the idea that all Muslims are terrorists and how the media cares a lot more about the Caucasian world compared to the rest of it. Yes, there was a suicide bomber in Beirut who killed 43 innocent people. Yes, Syrian refugees have this as their reality. Japan did in fact have an earthquake and Brazil is currently having an environmental catastrophe. And all of that is horrible and yes attention should be paid to those events and yes more can and needs to be done in order to help these places out.

Does the media coverage of the Paris attack show some problems with our ideas of the rest of the world? Yes. Beirut barely got any airtime, which is deplorable. Syrian refugees need to be seen as innocent human beings trying escape a hell that they were living in instead of being seen as all terrorists that will just bring terrorism with them. And the environmental disasters in Japan and Brazil need to be addressed and not pushed to the side. It is true that we as a society need to change our view of people and places.

But please, 129 innocent people died in a terrorist attack. 129. This is why are we focusing on the Parisian attacks as it compares to the other events happening around the world. Stop using the Paris attack as a means of furthering your message and instead mourn with me for these people. They were moms and dads and sons and daughters and friends and coworkers who decided to enjoy their Friday night in the best city in the world and instead met a terrible fate. They didn’t deserve what happened to them, just like the other casualties from the events around the world didn’t deserve what happened to them. But their deaths happened and the only thing that we can do now is remember their lives and vow that they will never be forgotten.

It’s too soon to tell if November 13, 2015 will be a day that people will remember for the rest of their lives.  But that doesn’t take away from the pain right now. Paris, and the rest of the world, is hurting.  Please stop comparing the Paris attack to the rest of the events happening around the world. Things need to be changed. But let Paris stand on its own.


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Maddy is a Sophomore at Boston College studying Communications and History. Currently living in Los Angeles, Maddy spends her time watching procedurals on Netflix, volunteering for either the Student Admissions Program or Samaritans, reading celebrity gossip, or searching for the best french fries in town.
Emily Boches is currently a student at Boston College, majoring in Communications with a minor in Philosophy. She is also hoping to become a Veterinarian in the future. Emily is originally from Massachusetts, just 30 minutes outside of Boston. Her small city lies right on the coast where the beach is no more than 2 minutes away. She spends her free time getting addicted to shows on Netflix (it happens to the best of us), napping, and taking Buzzfeed quizzes.