Blazers react to the Islamic State's attacks with solidarity
Most have called it mass murder; the Islamic State called it "retribution." After the Islamic State's back-to-back attacks on Beirut, Lebanon and Paris, France between Nov. 12 and 14 left scores dead and hundreds more injured, many began to realize ISIL's full potential in spreading harm and terror.
First, two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a suburb of Beirut, killing 43 people. Most were Shia Muslims. The next night, a busy Friday in France, Paris saw an unprecedented wave of attacks. Explosions were heard outside the Stade de France where a football match was taking place between France and Germany. They turned out to be suicide bombers. In addition, attackers shot and killed dozens at various restaurants around the city. In the Bataclan, where American rock band Eagles of Death Metal was playing a sold-out concert, attackers methodically shot at audience members with Ak-47s and took other people hostage, shooting them "execution-style." At least 89 people died in that hall.
Here at Blair, we were angry. We were also saddened, shocked, fearful, and confused. In French 4 and 5 classes, teacher Mbaya Subayi asked his students to create posters in an attempt to vent some of their emotions and to show solidarity for France. "My feelings can be expressed through my students," he explains, holding up a poster that says "Je Suis Paris." Another student drew two friendly stick figures, one with the head of an American flag and another with the French.
Blazers in the Youth Ambassadors for Community Service program were planning to leave for Paris on Nov. 30 before their trip was postponed to January. However, Subayi insists that they should not be scared of being in France. "That's exactly what the terrorists want," he says. Yet inevitably, some youth ambassadors are changing how they feel towards the trip. "I'm still excited to go to Paris, but recently France has been the center of attacks," junior Elvis Martinez says, his voice wavering slightly.
Another fallout from the attacks has been a change in people's views of Islam. Many have blamed the religion for the tragedies, but French teacher Lucille Austin believes that's simply wrong. "It would be unfortunate if [the Islamic State] were able to give most of us the impression that this is what Islam stands for," she clarifies.
Blazers have shown their sympathy through news of the attacks. "Stay strong and keep in mind that through hope and through unity and through faith, that everything will be okay," senior Yonatan Mengesha says. More than anything, we became unified.
Here's SCO's full video on the Blair community's response to the attacks, with interviews conducted by Brian Le and filmed and edited by Donald De Alwis:
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