To Feel Terror…


Jean Plantu

French cartoonist Jean Plantureux, who goes by Plantu, drew an emotional cartoon for French newspaper Le Monde. A crying person draped in a French flag hugs a crying person with a Belgian flag, suggesting solidarity between the two countries. The dates beneath each figure signify the November 13 Paris attacks and the March 22 Brussels attacks.

Taylor Houggy, Reporter

Fifty years ago, if you were to ask someone if they felt safe living in their country, the response would, no doubt, be overwhelmingly positive. However, today, the feeling of safety in our own homes has been compromised. In the early hours of March 22nd, a Brussels airport and metro station were attacked and bombed by terrorists believed to be linked to the Paris attacks that occurred last November. (NOTE: As of now, according to major news outlets, the death toll is currently at 35, four of the victims confirmed American, and 270 injured.)

So, instead of starting my morning refreshed and ready to face the world, I was rudely awakened and confronted by how terrifying reality truly is. I’ve begun to question my safety in my own home, after seeing attack after attack all over the world. It is truly unexplainable to grow up afraid of the world around you, but sadly, this is what my generation has to endure.

And, in a way, we’ve become numb to these acts in a desperate attempt to ignore the issues that our world faces. As I walked through the halls the day after the attack, I heard no anxious murmurs. No questions or gossip. When I decided to bring the topic up in front of my friends, a hushed silence fell upon them and some quiet mumbles were exchanged before we inevitably returned to our light, happy conversation. I shrugged it off and went about my work, but for the rest of the day, I couldn’t help but think of the people who weren’t lucky enough to be able to just shrug it off. The families torn apart by explosions, the mothers who had to bury their children. We don’t see this emotional and devastating side of terrorism anymore, but instead we see these victims as simple statistics; statistics that we could never possibly be apart of, right? How secure, as Americans, are we? For the past few days, this question has kept me awake at night, because I truly don’t know. I don’t know whether their will be a breaking news story tomorrow about another bombing, or if this attack in Brussels marks the world’s final act of terrorism.

All I know is, a child shouldn’t have to grow up worrying what country will be targeted next, or falling victim to an act much more heinous than they could ever hope to understand. Terrorism has ransacked our planet, to the point where we can’t even outwardly react anymore to these attacks due to how many we have witnessed. Even in my short time here, I have watched the world grow uglier and uglier, and as a part of the generation who will soon run this world, I can’t help but wonder if we’ll learn from the attacks that we witnessed as children and vow to make the earth a peaceful place again, or if these violent and hateful habits will be inherited by us.

Ultimately, we can choose if we want our future to be a place where people live in fear, or we can recognize and learn from the devastation of these attacks and change the world for the upcoming generations. It’s all up to you. Remember that.