Community & Culture, RU Abroad

RU Abroad with Justin: My Apologies

I have been trying to write this post for a week now and every time I get about 300 hundred words in before realizing it doesn’t accurately portray my thought. The first time I wrote it it started like this:

Seeing as I’m roughly 380km from Paris, I feel the need to talk about the events that unfolded on November 13th. To put things into perspective, I am currently living closer to Paris, than Toronto is to Ottawa. In addition to this, there are at least 4 major cities (Including Amsterdam and Brussels) that are under 100 km from my house.

That was on Saturday the 14th, after a Canadian embassy email went out giving me official “guidance” on the events. Naturally, the university held a candlelight vigil and the university church held extra masses. Having no clue what to say next, I began writing the obvious:

The events that unfolded in Paris were shocking. To make matters worse, a group of friends had gone there for the weekend (they’re fine), and were stuck within the city until early Monday morning. While the deaths of roughly 120 people is devastating, the global reaction is even worse.

At this point, I began googling articles pertaining to Paris and reading about different reactions. What I found made me really super angry, which follows:

Being a proud Canadian I would have never imagined that events in my home country would make me feel ashamed. To give you context, I read the following article at some point this weekend: The only mosque in Peterborough, Ontario was set on fire.

You’d expect that kind of thing to happen in the USA or somewhere obscure, because “Canadians are better than that.” Or so I had thought. To give us credit though, the fundraising efforts in response restore a little faith in humanity, but the fact that this even happened in the first place, and in one of the most culturally accepting countries on earth, just embarrasses me.

My writing ended up going nowhere real quick, and doesn’t actually reflect my thoughts on the matter. The world had a moment of weakness, but that weakness will make us stronger in the future. Not sure if you’ve seen the twitter #I’llridewithyou campaign in Australia because this is the prime example of how we should all be reacting.

At some point I wrote a nice long rant about social media and how it may not be awesome, but it sure as hell got people talking and blah blah blah. In my plethora of information seeking pertaining to the attack in Paris, I stumbled upon multiple sources that say the same thing, which is summed up really nicely in this video.

Like the thousands of people before me I feel the need to scream into the void. And if anyone can hear me, my message is simple. Fight terror with LOVE. When a child acts out, you don’t bomb them, you wait it out. And even if that’s the course of action you feel the need to take, maybe wait until the wound isn’t fresh before making that decision. Pain is blinding.

I mourn for Paris, but I pray for the world. An entire generation fought so that our generation would never be able to understand what it means to go to war. Let’s not throw that out the window.

On behalf of everyone everywhere, to anyone anywhere; I’m sorry.

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Justin Anthony

Hello, my name is Justin and I’m a third year arts student. I’m fortunate enough to be moving to Tilburg University for a year in the Netherlands on exchange, so I’m blogging about it for the RU Abroad series!