Editorial: In memory of those lost because of terror

We wish it were impossible to imagine. We wish that the events in Paris were a nightmare never realized. We wish that all terror was no more than the monster under the bed.

Above all, we wish it was a wrong answer to “What happened on November 13?”

The world quickly took up the cry for help echoing across space and time zones, citizens doing what they could from where they were. For some, it wasn’t much, but to others, it meant everything. Red, white, and blue coated the globe and the internet as millions of people and millions of places expressed their solidarity with France. This paper too stands together.

Once, the world was perhaps a “once upon a time,” in which we never feared, and some still see that, still look for magic to draw us away from the reality of the world. Events such as these bring out the ends, the limits of such dreams but almost paradoxically, build the doors to these worlds at the same time. Togetherness, humanity has realized, is what brings the daybreak to usher the monster under the bed out into the open. We should always be looking to stand together, to strengthen and lock our beliefs in goodness in our minds, words, and actions as we seek to address such types of terror.

At Canisius, our Jesuit tradition calls us to be better than that, sentiments echoing parents’ warnings and teachings. They said to be better than the bullies, to take the higher road because while it is us versus them, we are too good to stoop to their levels. Anyway, the ‘them’ is very select. It is the minority of a greater religion (if they can even still be called ‘religious’), one that espouses peace and good as much as any other, if not more so. It is not on anyone else that we should punish, not on anyone else that we may take out our justified anger. ISIS claims responsibility for these attacks, and this paper is not one to point fingers at all of Islam in revenge, not one to consider blaming many for the deeds of the few.

This paper cautions you against ranking one terror over another, and it is wary of being negative about the French focus seen in western countries. Beirut, Baghdad, and many others have been victims of similar attacks, of similar challenges to humanity’s goodness. To list them all is to spiral into darkness, but that should not stop us from doing so. We light candles in remembrance and in promises for a better tomorrow.

However, let us not degrade the show of community in a world so concerned about ourselves as individuals. Let us be concerned with more than the day-to-day, and let us see what can be done if we reach out beyond our nation’s borders. There is, undoubtedly, a number of other factors in play in how these attacks are weighted in the minds of global citizens. There should be more sympathy with Beirut and Baghdad; that is not a question, but it is also an answer to a query to be asked later. One that should be asked after all victims of terror have a chance to recover from the sudden violence. It is a discussion for later but one that cannot be forgotten once dust settles and the tricolor filters disappear off of profiles.

It is terrifying, this paper imagines but does not know. It is unbearably borne by those on which it was forced.

It is worse to consider that this is repeatable and has been repeated, but it is also a challenge to be unafraid, to walk through streets unburdened by terror but instead aware of its possibility. The high ground is one reached by those who stand tall in the face of those that may persecute you and by those lifted up without needing to call for help. This paper cannot understand the experience, but it is unafraid to support you.

We don’t pretend to know how to fix this. We don’t pretend to see a solution or to be a fairy godmother. We do empathize with those who were there and those who were not but are affected in the aftermath. Canisius has students, now, in Europe, even as restrictions on travel are recommended, and, as a community, we are with them always. We trust the world to see its reflection in the stars and to want to see it made as bright as they are. There is an end, somewhere, to terror, and it is not through violence. We can remake the world with ordinary people doing more with what they can.  

This paper offers its sympathy, its love, its compassion, and itself to Paris, to Beirut, to Baghdad. It offers these and more to all victims of terror. This paper knows that the Canisius community stands unified for all others and we know that millions of others do as well.

We hope that it were impossible to imagine. We hope that the events in Paris were a nightmare never realized. We hope that all terror will one day be no more than the monster under the bed, to be swept away by trust in the world to keep us safe.  

We will answer “What happened on November 13?” with the belief that it is preventable and that it is, perhaps, a turning point for the end of terror.



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