Not just a stat: Americans should mourn all attacks

By McKenna Middleton, Contributor

A single westerner’s death is a tragedy; a million Middle Easterners’ deaths are a statistic. It’s disheartening, to say the least, that some of the most influential nations in the world have adopted a mantra similar to that of ruthless dictator Joseph Stalin.

The aftermath of the Paris attacks has resulted in demands for tighter border control in Europe and other western nations, particularly in regards to immigration for Syrian refugees in need of aid and relocation. The UN estimates over 6.5 million people have been forced to flee Syria as a result of these same kinds of attacks pinned to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

While the news of these refugees received some salience in past months, it was nothing compared to the reaction to the Paris attacks.

Paris is receiving a lot of support, but what about countries facing similar, and often more frequent, tragedies? Where is the Facebook profile picture filter for those countries?

Many have justified this by citing our unique alliance with France or 9/11. However, I propose that, as Americans, we tend to sympathize with other western countries with much more prominence than with other nations.

This is not to say the supportive reaction of Americans to Parisians should be lessened, but rather that American support should stretch further than western countries we have an alliance with. As the Syrian refugees prove, the problem of terrorism is not a western problem, but a global issue.

At the G-20 Summit, Obama recognized that Syrian refugees are often “the victims of terrorism themselves, that’s what they’re fleeing.” The result of a terrorist attack in a western nation objectively should create an empathetic connection between refugees and the nations they wish to enter.

Despite this, most European nations and even leaders in the United States have suggested relocation of these refugees be put to a stop for security reasons. In an interview with CNN, presidential candidate Jeb Bush even suggested that “we should focus our efforts as it relates to refugees on the Christians that are being slaughtered.” In other words, we should again turn our attention, sympathy and aid to people like us, further perpetrating the idea that terrorism only affects western nations like the United States.

The situation of terrorism has been affecting the global community for years, but it is only after the Paris attacks that the issue has been directly addressed with the quality and quantity of the attack on 9/11.

Terrorism has been brought into the spotlight once again but in a way that has created and perpetuated a situation in which westerners are the victims and Middle Easterners are the terrorists.

McKenna Middleton is a freshman journalism and Spanish major from Glendale, Calif.