Month of terror
March 16, 2016. Two women disguised as men approach a mosque located on the outskirts of Maiduguri, capital of Borno state in Nigeria, at approximately 5:30 a.m.
The first woman enters the building and joins the worshippers in the center of the mosque. As the congregation rises for prayer, she detonates a bomb sewn into her garments.
Pandemonium sets in, and the second woman rushes inside and detonates her bomb near those who are trying to flee.
22 people are murdered, another 35 injured.
March 22, 2016. Amid the hustle and bustle of a typical morning at the Brussels Airport in Zaventem, three inconspicuous men push carts loaded with luggage to their presumed gates.
At 7:58 local time, they instead detonate two bombs packed with nails as shrapnel.
At 9:11 a.m. of the same day, the middle car of a three-car metro train explodes six miles away from the Brussels Airport at the Maalbeek metro station.
32 people are murdered, another 300 injured.
March 27, 2016. Thousands gather to celebrate Easter Sunday at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Lahore, Pakistan.
As excited children queue in front of a musical carousel, 30 pounds of explosives strapped to an attacker’s body detonate next to the machine.
72 people are murdered, another 320 injured.
Various groups have claimed responsibility for March’s bombings, including the Islamic State, a Pakistani offshoot of the Taliban and affiliates of Boko Haram.
But with the closest attack occurring over 4,600 miles away, some may question this relevance of this news.
Should we care for the fact that a NATO ally was attacked? Or for the fact Christians were explicitly targeted by an international terror organization?
In short, no. Not for those reasons.
In a new Acura advertisement, a safety technician is shown carrying and placing people, not dummies, inside an SUV. He buckles them in, one by one, until he reaches the driver. The camera then pans out to shows the driver’s face.
It’s the same face as the technician’s.
He is then shown walking into the control center and nervously pressing the button to send the car into the wall at full speed. A voice says, “When you don’t think of them as dummies, something amazing happens.”
When you don’t think of them as people in a distant land, numbers in a tally of victims, something terrifying happens. When you think of one, only one of the dead as your brother, mother, or child, only then is it possible to understand the terrifying cost of attacks like those which transpired in the past month.
Now magnify that feeling by a factor of 126.
Each number represents a person. Each number represents a family member, a loved one. And each number represents a human life, mercilessly and meaninglessly ripped from this earth. And for what?
We hardly need reminding that evil exists in this world. This article could, however, serve a useful purpose as a cold splash of water to the face, refusing to allow numbness, or even fear.
For those of us who lack the means to affect change to the extent we would like, refusing to accept these horrendous acts of terror as the norm, both domestically and abroad, is the most effective way to combat this depraved ideology.
We must unite, not as Unionites, not as Americans, not even as Christians, but as members of a global community and declare with a resolute and unwavering voice that we refuse to be intimidated into silence.
Those who seek to commit terror will know we won’t go quietly into the night; an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us; and that we will stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, white or black, Muslim or Christian, as a united front against this evil stalking our world.
Only then can we expect to live in a world where terrorism is nothing more than a dark spot on a distant memory of a long ago world.
Jonathan Deemer is a freshman International Relations major.