The human cost of terrorism

So far this summer, the pace and scope of the killings are dizzying. Bombs have exploded in Bhagdad, Nice, Istanbul, Orlando, Dhaka, Djakana, Lafoole, Tal Abyad, Kot, Mogadishu, Qaa, Al Mukalla, Medina, Lahore, Al Hasakah, Um al Housh, Aleppo, Mosul, Aden, Kabul, Qamishli, Ankara, Iskandariya, Brussels etc. Each explosion or bullet has teared holes in homes and communities causing unbearable pain to the families and friends of the survivors.

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In just a couple of months hundreds of lives cut short by heinous acts of terrorism and its important to reveal the humanity lost and that a life is a life, wherever and whenever it is curt short. All these acts of terror have a ripple effect to the immediate surviving relatives: people who have lost parents, spouses, siblings or friends.

Most of the victims, young and old, have left behind parents, whose language of mourning trascends borders and cultures. It is a pain that surely is indescribable. Victims ages range from mid eighties to even unborn babies with must in the prime of their lives.

Among the victims, there were Jews, Christians, Atheists and even Hindus but a large number of them were Muslims. The cowardly attack at the Lahore Park that targeted Christians families killed more Muslims!

American, French, Chinese, Congolese, Lebanese, Syrian, Saudi Arabian, Turkish, Afghans, Egyptians, Israelis, Macedonians, British, Peruvians, Germans, Nigerian, Somalian and other nationalities were among the victims who were also musicians, teachers, students, waitresses, police officers, farmers. home makers, business men and from many other professions.

The result of this madness is hundreds of families torn apart with surviving relatives and friends trying to hold close to the last moments with loved ones, parsing them for deeper meanings.

What emerges is a tapestry of hundreds of anonymous lives interrupted and of which we barely know much about, if it was not for anecdotal shards or bits of memory shared in the press by those left behind, in the details of their dreams and the things left undone.

If ony the perpetrators just stopped to reflect on this and how they would feel if their loved ones were to suffer a similar fate, they might re-consider being the cause of so much suffering. They too have parents, spouses and siblings and should feel some empathy.

Pope Francis has just said: ” The world is at war. Not a war of religion. There is a war of interests. There is a war for money. There is a war for natural resources. There is a war for domination of peoples. This is the war. All religions want peace. Others want war. Do you understand?”

The Dalai Lama often repeats that, “Violence only generates more violence!” and this is definitely true but what is the solution to these terrible attacks that are fast becoming part of our daily lives? I wish I would have the answer but I do not. The only thing I am certain of is that we can’t play into the hand of the terrorists by changing the way we live, by feeling apprehension to those different to us, by posting hate messages on our social media or by alienating ourselves from our fellow human beings with whom we at last have one thing in common and that is our yearning to find happiness.

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