Every Time a Bomb Goes Off

16 Apr

So it seems fairly trivial to write about anything today except for the explosions at the Boston Marathon and its aftermath. I have already spent the morning reading countless blogs detailing the shock, horror, and sadness that everybody around the world is feeling. To take an exciting, happy event and transform it into one of fear and sadness is cruel thing to do. It hurts my heart to think about all of the lives that will never be the same because of this event.

But each time I hear on the news of another mass shooting or bombing or other violent attack, I am gripped by dread. Every time a bomb goes off, the first thing that comes to my head is, “please don’t let them be Arab or Muslim.”

When the Norway shootings came to light, the news media was flooded with messages of terror and jihad and yet another operation by Al Qaida and all I could think was “not again”. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t relieved when I found out the person responsible wasn’t in any way affiliated with a group that could cause people to blame “those Muslim terrorists.”

The past 12 years have been rough for Arabs and Muslims. I distinctly remember how afraid I was for my Egyptian dad to go to work the day of 9/11 because news reports had already been coming in of taxi drivers being beaten and mosques being attacked and I was scared my dad was going to be hurt, too. I wince every time somebody says that the Middle East is only filled with people who want to kill Westerners because I think about my family in Alexandria who just want to live normal lives like the rest of us do.

It always astounds me how people manage to blanket entire religious or ethnic groups in tragic events. I know that they are angry and looking for someone to blame, but it never occurs to them that maybe their victims are just as shocked and horrified as they are. Over 50 countries were represented at the Boston Marathon yesterday – the violent events that took place are a shock to the global community. To humanity. To everybody who shakes their head and asks, “why would somebody do this to a group of runners? To anyone?”

Luckily, it seems that people for the most part are refraining from pointing fingers. There haven’t been as many headlines declaring the bombings a terrorist attack by Al Qaida or a right-wing extremist group and that eases my sorrow a little more. My heart lifts each time I hear a story of a marathoner finishing their race and running towards the hospital to give blood. I smile when I think about the Red Cross turning people away because they have enough volunteers and supplies to deal with the situation. It makes me happy to know that people are coming together as a community -of runners, Bostonians, Americans, humans– to make this pain a little easier to bear.

Because the world is good. People are good. I always see the best of humanity in the midst of tragedy. When Hurricane Sandy hit, citizens didn’t avert their eyes and pass it off as somebody else’s problem – they mobilized and donated blood, supplies, and shelter to those in need. Food drives and charities were organized to ease the burden of those who have suffered enough.

There is a lot of suffering in the world and it extends far beyond our borders. For every explosion in Boston, there were explosions in Afghanistan. For every family torn apart by violence here, there are children who will never see their parents in Syria. All of it is horrible and all of it is senseless. Boston brought it to our own backyard and made the violence and tragedy too close to ignore. It is easy to harden our hearts and brim with anger at those who caused this pain in the world, but what would be the point? Why not take that energy and channel it with kindness and compassion and love?

Write a thank you letter to the first responders and the Boston Police Department.

Donate blood to your local Red Cross.

Dedicate today’s miles on your run to someone who can no longer run theirs.

Hug your family tight and let your loved ones know you care.

Wear your favorite race shirt to show solidarity with the runners in Boston.

Because love always wins.

We are all in this together. We are all on the same journey through this amazing, shocking, unbelievable thing we call life and it will be so much easier if we choose to let people in and share the journey together.

Today, my heart is with Boston, but it’s also with the orphans in Syria and the schoolgirls in Afghanistan and the homeless in America and everybody around the world who needs some love and compassion. Today I am praying for the lives of those suffering all around the world and sending positive energy out to those who need it most.

Please join me.

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6 Responses to “Every Time a Bomb Goes Off”

  1. Manasi April 16, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    I really appreciate your conscientiousness and balanced thoughts here. Thank you for sharing.

  2. theadventuresofzandk April 16, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    “We are all on the same journey through this amazing, shocking, unbelievable thing we call life …” Love that.

  3. Ali April 17, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    Sara, thank you for this. I love how you’re responding, both thoughtfully and practically – and inviting others to join you.

    • Sara @ Magia e Pasta April 17, 2013 at 8:52 am #

      Thanks so much for reading, Ali! I really appreciate your feedback and I hope people WILL join me 🙂

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