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Paris Feature: Paris attacks unite the world

Paris Feature: Paris attacks unite the world

Leaving 130 dead and over 350 injured, the simultaneous attacks that struck Paris on the evening of Nov. 13 put the world in a state of grief and shock. Many, including the French government, called for revenge against the Islamic State, the terrorist organization claiming responsibility for this tragedy. Others simply grieved quietly and hoped for a more peaceful world in the future. Although the intention behind the terror was to create chaos and destruction, the incidents have actually brought the international community closer together.

During the fallout of 9/11 in the US, many nations showed their support toward the victims by altering colors of their monuments to that of the US flag. Similarly, famous monuments and structures in cities around the world lit up in colors of the French flag after the Paris attacks. The Tower Bridge in London, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, the Space Needle in Seattle, to list a few, all lit up in red, white, and blue on the night of the attacks.

“After the Paris attacks, when I was scrolling through all the social media that I had, especially Facebook and Instagram, I saw the hashtag #PrayforParis everywhere,” John Ban (10) said. “This shows our support towards the community in France, and that the posts on social media have a symbolic meaning of unity.”

News of the attacks spread quickly via various social media sites. Accompanied with the hashtag #PrayForParis and an image of the Eiffel Tower embedded in the peace symbol, the online community expressed support for the victims of the shooting. Even formerly malicious hacker groups such as the Anonymous have publicly announced its intent to join the fight against terrorism; given the heavy reliance of ISIS on social media to make known their violence, such groups have hacked into ISIS Twitter accounts and deleted them. Anonymous has also posted guides on how common citizens can participate in this digital form of resistance.

French travelers who were traveling outside of their country at the time of the attacks are now trapped outside their home country’s borders. As a result, many families in the US, among other nations, have opened up their homes to these people with the hashtag #portesouvertes (open doors).

“I heard about people opening up their homes to indirect victims of the Paris attacks through an article I read on Facebook,” Jay Lee (10) said. “Even though these actions may seem trivial, I think these small actions are what show the world that we are willing to help each other in times of need.”

Following the attacks and the group responsible for the tragedy, Muslim societies around the world, especially in places where they constitute the minority, were afraid of the anti-Muslim sentiments that would occur as a result. However, 76% of the French population expressed favorable views of Muslims; the statistics indicated that rather than marginalizing the Muslims, the French community’s response remains overwhelmingly positive towards the religion after the attacks.

“Nations around the world have a [varied stance] on issues and often find it hard to come to agreement,” said Hyong Min Kim, student at Seoul Foreign School. “However this time I am sure that most nations can agree that the Paris attacks pose a fresh bout of terrorist threat to the world, and that measures must be taken immediately. I think this already can become a common area of discussion where nations can bury their diplomatic hatchets and come to some agreement, leading to more unity in the world today.

Although the Paris attacks will forever be remembered a tragedy, positives did emerge from the event. The global community stepped up together to support the affected people in France, emerging as a stronger community.

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