Compassion in the Face of Violence

This week has truly been clouded by events of violence, destruction and terror.  Earlier in the week the US saw rampant racism at college campuses across the country and just yesterday the world watched in horror as terror attacks unfolded in Paris and Beirut.  These events in combination with a sizeable earthquake in Japan, and continuing conflicts in different parts of the world, including Syria, make it easy to feel like the world is falling apart.  

Even so, amidst these gruesome events, which demonstrate the darkest side of humanity, people from around the globe have come together in solidarity of those affected.  It has been so heartening to see the compassion, love and support strangers are giving each other during these troubled times.  I had the amazing opportunity to experience the Brandeis community come together for a powerful rally in solidarity with Black students at Mizzou.  Yesterday and today, social media has been flooded with images of the Eiffel Tower and posts with #PrayForParis and #jesuisparis. 

These are just some of the many ways people have been supporting each other and taking a peaceful stand against the violence of the week.  There are some who condemn the hashtags, Instagram posts and Facebook profile picture changes as fleeting trends people are all to eager to show off.   Perhaps they are right.  But for now, I want to believe the best in people.  I see the wonderful way strangers are coming together and it gives me a sense of solace because I know that goodness still exists in the world.   

I took this photo almost exactly a year ago on Thanksgiving day in Paris. I was very fortunate to have had the opportuity to spend the holiday in such a beautiful city with my sister and cousin who were both studing abroad last year. This year, Thanksgiving as come early to me as recent global events have reminded me not to take for granted my blessings and to be thankful for all I have in life.