Bombs explode. Fire crackles. The cries of the innocent echo out into night. And then silence. The calm after the storm. The streets of the city of love, cluttered with debris while its people try to collect the pieces of their lives – shattered on that Friday the Thirteenth night.
The attacks are over, now. Yet, the scars and stains of the tragedy remain. A city so beautiful, so legendary, torn to bits by hatred and evil, leaving 352 injured and the families of 129 people feeling lost and hopeless, longing for their loved ones passed on.
Violence in the media, television, and movies have desensitized us to a disgusting extent. To so many, these numbers are just that, numbers of lives lost and people hurt. It is not real to them. It is just another statistic. Too many of us will go to bed tonight and the nights to come thinking that the terrorist attacks on Paris were just something that happened across the sea, without any effect on our lives, our families, or our country. But shouldn't it have an effect? Should we, as Americans, not be heartbroken with them? Of course we should. It is not a tragedy limited to France's borders or the borders of Europe for that matter.
For a moment, let us forget about the trickiness of foreign affairs and foreign politics. Attacks of terror and hatred on unsuspecting, innocent people is a world travesty. We should be standing with Paris, not just because of all of the positive affairs the United States and France have had over the centuries; not just because we as a country know how it feels to be attacked when we are vulnerable, but because we are human. We may not all share the same race, culture, gender - but we are all people, born with the same right to life as all others. Those attacks in Paris put that right to jeopardy. We should be standing with Paris out of common human decency, if nothing else. Because deep down, we know the difference between right and wrong, and should be upset when our fellow man is feeling a type of loss that no one should ever endure.
Standing for Paris, however, does not mean declaring war on their behalf. It does not mean placing blame or showing disrespect. It means showing the people of Paris that we are the same. We are humans with the same hearts, will, and capacity to love, regardless of our outsides. We want the same things they do; to live their lives to the fullest without fear of who or what is lurking around the corner. We need to show that love and support can come from anywhere, even if that just means changing the filter on your Facebook profile picture. We need to show them that the world is not just filled with people with malice in their hearts. That we are people, from all walks of life, who hope and pray they find justice, and most of all peace. That will we stand behind them, like we would for our own brothers and sisters. And that they can and will prevail, so the City of Lights may glow ever so radiantly yet again.