“When Paris Turned Off Its Lights, The World Turned Them On”

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I was supposed to write about the Mark Cuban talk this weekend.

It seems so insignificant now.

As an opinion journalist, I am supposed to write about what weighs on my mind. Most weeks, that entails opining on the social and professional events of this small Wharton bubble. Today though, I don’t feel like a Wharton student. Today, I feel like a citizen of the world, who just heard the news of a good friend who died.

It’s scary—it’s crazy how quickly everything can go to crap. You can’t prepare for the visceral, vicious shock sometimes. You can’t prepare yourself. It just hits you. Forever. I remember the exact spot I stood on September 11th when the news broke. The feeling in my body, the emotions, the silence. I fear that this past weekend, the people in France felt the same thing.

Throughout the night, I read the news in horror and fear. As my friends in France identified themselves as safe, one by one through Facebook notifications, my mind wandered off from the personal fears to the societal ones. How will this change the way European countries take in refugees? How will this affect our sensitivities to other ISIS attacks in less covered places like Beirut? What can we do?

UNITING US

We walk around in a school where it’s so easy to feel so small. The goal is to become a private equity megafund manager or the founder of a billion dollar company. However, moments like these remind us that everyone matters equally. The backgrounds and accomplishments of those in the Bataclan concert did not matter.

Everything can leave you without any warning. Our time is the forever-diminishing asset. Life is the most fragile possession. Hold on to it with your tightest grasp, no matter how messed up or painful it might look right now. My LTs, relationship problems, and dire job prospects seem so, so fully unworthy of my sadness or attention right now.

What is worthy of all our attention is how the world responded to what happened

paris2“When Paris turned off its lights, the rest of the world turned them on.” This line from Reddit is a beautiful reflection of the way we can come together and communicate.

WHAT CAN WE DO

The symbolic gestures on social media have been uplifting and reflective of a cross-boundary unity. However, remorse alone does not actually help anyone. The true gift we can give is love and understanding.

Love deeply; love always with all your heart. It’s the love that shows we care about others, whether in Paris, Beirut, or Russia. People around the world are losing their loved ones to terrorist attacks, though only now does it reach our national consciousness in such a potent manifestation.

Next, understand others. How many fewer deaths in the world would we have if we cared about everyone the same way we cared about those close to us? When I say “understand others” I even mean ISIS. No one thinks they’re evil from their perspective. How did we even get to this point? There’s a fantastic post on www.waitbutwhy.com on the history of ISIS that I recommend everyone read. Finally, I hope these attacks do not create a stigma towards refugees or ethnicity groups the same way World War II did for the Japanese population in the United States.

Vive La France

There is a time and place to talk retaliation. There is a time and place to talk about blame. But now is the time to come together and remember.

Liberté, égalité, fraternité

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