My heart hurts.
In 128 days, I will be leaving the United States to fulfill the start of my public service dreams in Tanzania. Serving in Africa is something that I’ve wanted to do for five years now, and traveling outside of the country has been an aspiration of mine for even longer. But recent global events have tried to steal my joy of traveling. Instead of anticipating my layover in Paris in 128 days, I’m dreading my flight. I’m scared.
Checking my Twitter feed every morning is something I love doing. I follow several positive accounts that tweet happy and inspirational things that brighten my day. But as I walked into school today, my feed contained something different. Graphic pictures, “breaking news” headlines, and the hashtag #PrayForBrussels made up my morning’s tweets. As I read about the terrorist attacks that occurred early this morning, I started to ask myself how I really felt about them. I came to the conclusion that I felt numb. Why? This is the new normal on our planet. We’re used to these kinds of stories, pictures, and hashtags… But we shouldn’t be. I’m disgusted.
As I wrestled with anger over what had happened in a European city that I would love to visit, I started to grow even more disgusted at something else. In the midst of the tweets asking for prayers, political rhetoric started to seep in. Government officials started broadcasting their plans to start new wars. Others spoke of their hatred for radical Islam. Presidential hopefuls called for stronger border protection from terrorists. All the while I started to grow more unsettled. I was uneasy because incidents such as those in Brussels, Paris, Ivory Coast, Mali, San Bernardino, Indonesia, and countless other cities and nations open the doors for more hate. But the world doesn’t need more hate. We need more love.
Should radical Islamic terrorism be ended? Certainly. But should we allow continued acts of violence to cause us to unite in hate against a group of people? Certainly not. We need to come together to put an end to terrorism, period. Not a certain religion’s terrorism, not a certain race’s terrorism, but terrorism. Period.
My first blog post was all about loving others, and the world needs a lot more of that today. As you read about the terrorist attacks in Brussels, you’re likely to become angry. I get that. I’m angry too. But anger and hate should never be what unites us. Only love should. I challenge you to love a little harder today.
“Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.