The Terrifying New Reality

Over spring break I found myself in beautiful, sunny Ventura, Calif. Besides occasionally contemplating the fullness of my schedule come Spring Quarter, I found myself virtually stress free, releasing my pent up energy from Winter Quarter by eating, tanning and celebrating with friends. But when I woke up on Easter morning, I had a rude awakening, literally, when Facebook notified me that I was near an explosion and asked if I was OK.
Facebook clearly made a mistake; I was nowhere near the tragedy in Gulshan- i-Iqbal Park in Lahore, Pakistan that killed at least 60 people and injured 341 others. But in my early morning foggy-headed state, my first thought was not the realization that I was not near the explosion site or surprise at yet another terrorist attack, but rather, silent, solemn acceptance that something terrible happened near me while I slept.

I soon realized that the tragedy was actually somewhere far away from me but the feeling remained—we live in an age of terrorism where violence seems natural and unavoidable.

Four major terrorist attacks rocked the world in a time span of just eight days. The attacks occurred in Lahore, Pakistan, Iskandariya, Iraq, Brussels, Belgium and Istanbul, Turkey. The victims were mothers, children and loved ones traveling on vacation or just going about a regular day.

On a single page these places, those who died and those suffering are reduced to numbers and words—no amount of commentary can do justice to the lives lost. As a student journalist who may one day need to report on such terrorist attacks, I feel the heavy weight of responsibility to understand conflict-sensitive reporting, do justice to those who have experienced tragedy and not reduce victims to mere numbers. But for now, as a citizen of the world, I am sad. I am afraid.

How do we reconcile our desire to separate ourselves from these tragedies so that we may understand and not become crushed by heavy realities with our equally heavy emotions? There are no easy answers and I certainly don’t have them.

—Melissa Lin, Editor in Chief