Our Response to Terrorism

How can ordinary people respond meaningfully to acts of terrorism?

Last night, a series of mass shootings and suicide bombings occurred in Paris and Saint-Denis, France. The attack is one of a growing succession of carefully planned, brutal attacks on ordinary folk were simply going about their day-to-day business, just like the rest of us. With families, friends, jobs… just like the rest of us.

In the wake of such atrocities, many of us are asking these questions:

  • How can we show solidarity with people who are directly affected by such brutality?
  • How can we fight back?
  • How can we protect ourselves?

We don’t have all the answers. But what little light we have; we must live by it.

Many of us have updated our social network status to show our support for the victims. It isn’t much, but it is something. Many of us will pray for peace just a little more fervently today. We feel helpless to do much ourselves, but we believe that there is someone up there who hears us. And many of us will hug our kids a little tighter today; because we want them to live in a better world.

Today, we’ll be thankful for more of the good things in life; because these are the things that we take for granted, and they are also the things that we’re fighting for. We will show love to our families, laugh with our friends, and greet our neighbours warmly; because today is a day to cherish the people around us.

Some of us will put our energies into tidying up, cleaning up and repairing; because today is a day to drive back chaos. Some of us will do our jobs with just a little more effort; because every little really does help. And many of us will be more forgiving, more patient  and more generous towards the people around us; because simple kindness is a powerful antidote to hate, to fear and to anger.

We will live our lives, because they are lives worth living; and we will honour those whose lives have been taken from them, because their lives were worth living, too. No, we do not have all the answers, but we will live by what little light we have.

We will undertake small acts of rebellion against the evil in this world; because every ounce of goodness drives back the darkness. And we will take courage; never giving up, never losing faith, always hoping, and always persevering. Because we believe that, in the end, light will overcome darkness, kindness will overcome hatred, and goodness will overcome evil.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.John 1:5

It is true that we do not have all the answers. But we are not powerless. We have weapons that we have at our disposal, and we will use them as effectively as we can. Because, in the war against evil, small virtues are more powerful than men with a gun and bombs.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Image by jean jullien via Twitter.