There has been an outpouring of grief and solidarity since the terror attacks in Paris a week ago. At some point, though, people began to ask why there was not a parallel response to the terror attack the previous day in Beirut, or the sadly frequent but remarkably similar incidents in various flashpoints in Asia and Africa recently. And what about the ongoing knifings and vehicular attacks against Israelis? Are some victims more important than others? Are some acts of violence more justifiable?
For comfortable people in Western societies, the Paris attacks remind us that violence can come to where we live – even though we don’t live in a place normally associated with such mass killings. Yet losing a loved one is no less painful because you live in a war zone. We should not allow ourselves to become numb to murder simply because of where the victims live, the color of their skin, their religion or nationality.
But current events have become far more fraught because of the perpetrators in Paris. Early reports suggest at least one of the murderers entered Europe amid the throngs of legitimate refugees streaming in recently. This will have damning consequences for the millions of persons displaced by war in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the region.
And the violence has reverberated to Canada. A mosque in Peterborough, Ont., was set ablaze, almost certainly an act motivated by a disordered response to events in Paris.
We should stand with victims of violence everywhere, whether in Peterborough, Paris, Lebanon or Jerusalem.