As the world reels from the aftermath of Paris, everyone is searching for ways to cope with the horrendous tragedy and the implications that this event holds for the future of world peace.
This is not the first time that Paris has been the target of terrorist attacks from Islamist terrorists. On 7 January 2015, two brothers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, forced their way into the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Armed with assault rifles and other weapons, they killed 11 people and injured 11 others in the building. After leaving, they killed a French National Police officer outside the building. The gunmen identified themselves as belonging to the Islamist terrorist group Al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen. Several related attacks followed in the Île-de-France region, where a further five were killed and 11 wounded.
This is also not the first and possibly not the last terrorist act to be carried out by various Islamist extremist groups. At around the same time as the Paris attack, two suicide bombers detonated explosives in Bourj el-Barajneh, a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, that is inhabited mostly by Shia Muslims. Reports of the number of deaths range from 37 to 43. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks.The bombings were the worst terrorist attack in Beirut since the end of the Lebanese Civil War.
Credit Bilal Hussein/Associated Press
All over the world, lives have been touched and changed viciously by these attacks. In response to these attacks, bombs have been dropped, refugees have been turned away and the world is gripped in fear of bearded men in robes and women in hijabs. The believers amongst us pray, for the souls lost and for a future with hope. But is prayer enough to solve what appears to be a culmination of events spurred on by greed, power struggles and self servitude?
The Dalai Lama, when asked about his view on the Paris attacks said this “We cannot solve this problem only through prayers. I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place”.
So if prayers are not enough, how can the world be saved? Well, we can start by taking responsibility.
“We need a systematic approach to foster humanistic values, of oneness and harmony. If we start doing it now, there is hope that this century will be different from the previous one. It is in everybody’s interest. So let us work for peace within our families and society, and not expect help from God, Buddha or the governments.”
And we can change the way we see and treat our fellow human beings.
“I think that only a small percentage of people subscribe to the violent discourse. We are human beings, and there is no basis or justification for killing others. If you consider others as brothers and sisters and respect their rights, then there is no room for violence. Furthermore, the problems that we are facing today are the result of superficial differences over religious faiths and nationalities. We are one people.”
I believe what the Dalai Lama is saying is this; that we need to remember that before we were labels, we were one race, the human race, that all lives are important and everyone needs to be treated with respect and dignity. Let’s not lose our humanistic values and let’s not replace them with hatred, anger, greed and paranoia. Let’s not forget that underneath the robes, the beards,the head coverings is a person with feelings, who is probably also filled with fear and trepidation that world peace is soon to be a memory but in their case, the additional fear of being blamed for something that they are totally against. So let’s respond to these terrorist: let’s pray and let’s make the change.
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