This weekend’s world tragedies – Why we should stand with all affected not just Paris

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A sign reads 'not afraid' as thousands gather for a vigil on Place de la Republique in Paris on Wednesday. Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA. Image from http://www.theguardian.com/world/blog/2015/jan/08/after-charlie-hebdo-attack-afraid-brave-words-freedom-speech

This past week going into the weekend broke my heart and probably moreso the hearts of billions of people across the globe. It hit me hard, the tragedies that took place over the course of the week. To be honest it brought me near to tears.

On Thursday the 12th of November more than 40 people were killed and more than 180 were wounded in Beirut by suicide bombers. On Friday the 13th of November at least 153 people were brutally murdered and over 200 people injured through a series of carefully planned terrorist attacks in Paris. In Baghdad, on the same day 26 people were killed by bombings. There were at least 60 casualties in the same place.

A sign reads 'not afraid' as thousands gather for a vigil on Place de la Republique in Paris on Wednesday. Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA. Image from //www.theguardian.com/world/blog/2015/jan/08/after-charlie-hebdo-attack-afraid-brave-words-freedom-speech
A sign reads ‘not afraid’ as thousands gather for a vigil on Place de la Republique in Paris on Wednesday. Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA. Image from http://www.theguardian.com/world/blog/2015/jan/08/after-charlie-hebdo-attack-afraid-brave-words-freedom-speech

An article by The Telegraph stated that besides the other attacks that went on in the city of Paris, at least three terrorists took more than a hundred people hostage in the hall, Bataclan, where a music concert was being held, before they randomly started killing innocent people. They had time to reload their weapons at least three times during the attack. The Prefecture of Paris said the attackers were wearing explosive vests and detonated them during a police assault at the venue.

CNN reported that after the death toll climbed in the aftermath of the attacks in Paris, details of the attacks continued to emerge. Terrorists, some with bombs strapped to them and others with AK-47s attacked sites across the whole city. But even as the full horror started to be revealed , support swelled around the city and beyond. It was confirmed that there were two suicide attacks and one bombing near Paris’ State de France Stadium.

A police prosecuter said there were eight gunmen killed across the capital with more still at large.

BBC News reported that in Beirut, Lebanon two bombers blew themselves up a short distance from each other in a street in Burj al-Barajneh at around 18:00 local time (16:00 GMT).

One security source told the Associated Press that the first bomber detonated his explosive vest outside a Shia mosque, while the second blew himself up inside a nearby bakery. The body of a third suicide bomber was found nearby. He was apparently killed by the second blast before he could detonate his own explosive vest.

“I’d just arrived at the shops when the blast went off. I carried four bodies with my own hands, three women and a man, a friend of mine,” one witness told a local television station. Another said: “When the second blast went off, I thought the world had ended.”

The Sunni jihadist group Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility, but there has been no independent confirmation.
This was the deadliest bombing in Beirut since the civil war ended 25 years ago.

Aljazeera reported, in Baghdad a suicide bomber detonated his explosives’ vest at the funeral service of a pro-government Shia Muslim fighter in the Iraqi capital’s southwestern suburb of Hay Al-Amal. At least 43 people were wounded in the explosion. A roadside bomb also detonated at a Shia shrine in Sadr City, killing at least five people and wounding another fifteen.

The Sunni fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), who control large parts of Iraq’s north and west, frequently set off bombs in the capital and further afield. Since the emergence of ISIL, Baghdad has seen near-daily attacks, with roadside bombs, suicide blasts and assassinations targeting Iraqi forces and government officials, with significant casualties among the civilian population.

The violence has killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands of Iraqis.

All this violence seems so far away from us yet it’s so real. The reason these real life situations brought me to tears is because they are so close to home, almost de-ja-vu. Kenya can’t say that we don’t understand what the country of France is going through because we have experienced it ourselves. We lost 152 student lives that we will never get back, sixty-something other lives that were just a enjoying a day at a mall, and like Baghdad we have experienced several other small bombings that have taken innocent lives. The tragic events might have past but the losses are still just as real.

It’s not a matter of saying sorry and just moving on, we understand that. The deep pang felt and the heart wrenching pain experienced by people left behind is treacherous. We are humans, we hurt deeply yet we don’t give up easily. I saw a picture of a crowd in Paris with a huge sign that read, “NOT AFRAID.”

It was beautiful and heart-breaking at the same time. As the rest of humanity it is our duty to give, lift up, and support each other through times as surreal as these.

So to Paris, I speak for us as Kenyans who may not make the biggest difference in this world but who know fully well what you are going through, who support you and understand that even though the world will move on and time will heal the wounds as the hurt slowly fades away the heartbreak and loss felt on this day will never disappear completely.

To Baghdad, Beirut, and to those afflicted by terrorism in the Middle East, I am sorry for our ignorance: our belief that you are not people with broken hearts as bad, if not worse than ours. I am sorry for our seeming nonchalance to your losses. We seem to pay more attention to everyone else and not realizing the depth of your countries’ wounds. From the most sincere place I personally am praying for healing in your country and hearts.

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