As I’m sure you’re all aware, in the midst of tragedy across the globe, attacks in Baghdad and Beirut, last night terrorists brought their unique blend of hatred and cowardice to Paris. After hearing the news, and making sure my loved ones were safe (my girlfriend and two of my closest friends are studying in Paris for the semester) I still couldn’t tear myself away from the ongoing news coverage. Not even to write a blog.
It’s surreal to sit in your bedroom in Baltimore, with your girlfriend on the phone a continent away, and hear about the senseless slaughter of innocents, just a short walk from her home-stay in a city you love, a city you plan on traveling to in just a week. It’s almost scary, how distant it feels. How terribly far removed you can be from the heart-wrenching loss people just like you are experiencing. People who could’ve been your loved ones, or you for that matter.
There’s no sense to be made of tragedies like this. Hard if not impossible to find a coherent logic in the actions of the depraved. I think, the only thing that tends to help, is a sense of community. Community, a subject on which many words have been written over the past two weeks; especially in relation to college campuses. I feel lucky that I have a community here at Hopkins. I have friends to whom I can turn when I’m scared, shocked, alone, when I don’t know how to feel. Friends and peers to whom I can turn precisely on days like today. Here at Hopkins, many students don’t feel as if they’re part of that community, and I can’t imagine how hard coping with these difficult feelings (or difficult feelings of any sort) must be when you already feel ostracized. I hope that moving forward, all you readers recognize the importance of creating a diverse, inclusive, powerful, community on college campuses and elsewhere. Communities that empower the diverse individuals who compose our schools, our churches, our neighborhoods, while respecting notions that make communities valuable to begin with; notions of free speech and open dialogue. And keep those who lost their lives in Paris, in Beirut, and far too many other locations around the world in your thoughts and hearts.