On Wednesday night, the Eiffel Tower fell dark over Paris. Its lights were cut out of respect for the victims of the car bombing in Kabul, which claimed the lives of at least 90 people.
The attack, which struck the Afghan capital earlier that day, occurred in a busy quarter of the city home to a number of foreign embassies. The blast went off in rush hour, just as people were starting their day.
It’s natural to feel a sharper sense of grief when these atrocities happen closer to home. These are the places where we live and work; the towns that we visit, the schools where we study. Our emotions are based on connections, and that’s why our reactions to recent attacks in Westminster and Manchester were so affecting.
There’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, it often highlights how these hateful acts fail in their efforts to divide us – as we saw in the incredible outpouring of generosity following the bombing in Manchester. However, this greater focus on our own shores can distract us from one truth: the majority of the victims of terrorism, as was the case in Kabul, are Muslims.
The bombing in Kabul has led to a huge amount of global sympathy. Along with the gesture in Paris, there has been extensive coverage of the attack in mainstream media, where reports from the Middle East – no matter how tragic – can often be overshadowed by more local concerns. The Pope has condemned the act as ‘abhorrent’; a particularly fitting term, especially as it took place during Ramadan.
There is never any justification for killing another human being, let alone 90. To do so in the holiest of months only highlights the capacity for evil required to commit such an act. This Ramadan, let us all remember the importance of unity in the face of division, understanding in the face of ignorance, and love in the face of hate.
Lastly, remember to keep the people who have lost their lives in your prayers.
Featured image credit: Wikimedia Commons.