Photo from the Los Angeles Times (Yorick Jansens / AFP/Getty Images)
We must not turn away from the news.
Two explosions occurred in Brussels Airport just before 8 a.m. on March 22, followed by an explosion at Maelbeek Metro Station, an area in the heart of Brussels surrounded by international embassies. The death count has risen to 34 as of March 23 as reported in The New York Times.
The attacks in the San Bernardino, Paris and now Brussels are saddening; they are the senseless endings of peoples’ lives – the worst of what humanity has to offer.
It can be easy to write this off as just another attack in faraway land of no concern to us. It is very easy, though very damaging, to only be concerned with what is right in front of us.
Writing these events off is normal, but instead we should ask ourselves, what is our part in this?
As reports flood in and people try to take advantage of this situation, we must learn to filter the noise in the media.
We must seek multiple sources; we must know what is going on around us. This is our part.
We must become more educated. Take a deep breath and skim through the list of terror attacks just this year and notice all the violence around you might not have noticed. The big death counts matter as much as the small.
“We cannot be numb to this,” said President Obama on Feb. 26.
This cannot be routine. This numbness is too uncomfortable.
There is no profile for a violent terrorist.
Past data shows that radicals can come from the ranks of both the rich and the poor, the educated as well as the uneducated, pot-smokers and workaholics, of any creed and color.
While ISIS claims responsibility for many attacks, there is no strict group of people who are terrorists.
We cannot approach any group of people as such. This is our part.
We can, however, make an environment that fosters a peaceful attitude, one that is less likely to produce terrorists.
An article by The Atlantic examined the growing radical culture in the Belgium in November 2015, shortly after the terrorist attacks in Paris.
It finds a similarity between two cultures that have produced terrorist attacks: they both have large number of poor, isolated immigrants, both have far-right, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim political parties and they all have relatively easy access to guns.
We cannot be exclusionary and divisive in today’s world. This is our part.
We must not be afraid.
Security will be heightened, and so should our vigilance.
We should take time to mourn Brussels, and any of our friends or family who were affected.
We must also have resolve to stay strong and be aware of what is happening around us.
This is not the way the world ends.