This ain’t what YOLO was meant to be


The Paris shooting was a tragedy. Yes #prayforparis. But lets not forget to pray for the world and the others living and dying in hell everyday around the world we all call home.

The world is now a place where going home safely after a Friday night of gaily cheering for your team at a football match, having a couple drinks at a bar, enjoying a meal at a local restaurant or head banging at a metal concert is far too much to hope for. And the recent Paris attack is living proof of it.

Paris shook with the thundering of explosions as terror hit again in less than a year after the attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which is known to have published caricatures of Prophet Mohammed, and a kosher grocery store. The attacks took place from January 7th to January 9th and 17 people were killed. It began by gunmen forcing their way into the Charlie Hebdo offices and later going on to kill four hostages held at the kosher grocery store by another gunman, Amedy Coulibaly. Many died that day by attackers who were allegedly shouting “Allahu akbar” and many more died this Friday night by different attackers shouting the same words.

The unprecedented attack took place on the 13th of November shortly after 9.00 pm in the 10th district of the capital at popular nightlife spots. Perfect timing to trap the most amounts of victims in this sadistic killing spree, as pointed out by a senior European counterterrorism official who stated “It’s a Friday night, and there’s a lot of people out, a lot of tourists out. If you want maximum exposure, you do it like this, in the dark, when it’s scarier and more difficult for police to act.”

The first reports of gunfire came from the Le Carillon bar where a masked man opened fire with a semi-automatic gun. He is then said to have crossed the road and entered the restaurant Le Petit Camboge and started firing there as well. The gunman killed at least 12 people who were mere innocent sitting ducks for his gun to aim at in his attack on the bar and restaurant.

Minutes later a shooting was reported near the popular Canal St Martin and the terrace of the La Casa Nostra pizzeria, which was only a few streets away from the first attack. Witnesses described seeing a man firing a machine gun and blood everywhere. The pizzeria’s terrace was painted in blood as simply as if it had been tomato sauce used for the pizza toppings.

At 9.30 pm the first of the three apparent suicide bombings took place near the State de France stadium where an international football friendly against France and Germany was taking place. The eruption pierced through the cheers of the crowd leading to frantic havoc within the stadium.

At the stroke of 10.00 pm the attackers strike a well-known concert venue named Bataclan hall in the 11th district where a Californian rock group Eagles of Death Metal were performing. The venue hosted 1,500 sold out seats where fans had unknowingly stuffed themselves into a wretched deathtrap. Four attackers are said to have stormed in from the back and fired at the crowd with Kalashnikov rifles. The crowd turned into a clamoring stampede looking for an exit like wild animals while it was the ones holding the instruments of death who were the real animals. Nearly 100 people were killed and a hostage crisis had begun. People were mercilessly trampled or shot to death.

The siege ended with three gunmen blowing themselves up with suicide belts and the fourth was shot dead. Paris had turned into a civilian battlefield where people wore fan t-shirts instead of camouflaged bullet proof vests and it was children and women armed with forks and spoons taking cover behind restaurant tables and not trained soldiers.
Witnesses heard the attackers making statements such as “It’s the fault of President Hollande, he should not have intervened in Syria” and “Allahu akbar”. It was the first clear evidence that Paris was targeted yet again by Islamist terrorists. France’s acceptance to take in 24,000 refugees and launch surveillance flights over Syria seems to have led to another daunting and even more futile tantrum by the jihadists. President Obama called it “an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share” while President Hollande announced that “We are going to lead a war which will be pitiless”.

The events of a single night have been broken down to highlight the disaster and artificial hell it brings with it. Now that you have been informed of the detrimental situation that took place and the “pitiless war” that is yet to come it is time for humanity to stop feeling both helpless and hopeless and do more than just #prayforparis. This single event took the life of many and scarred others for life, while there are many more other wars going on for months and even years.

One gun can make bodies fall like dominoes. Praying for Paris shouldn’t mean that we don’t care for the rest of the world but should only remind us why we should pray for the whole world. Pray for Paris but also pray humanity. Actually do more than pray. Say the words you pray to God to the world as well. Do what you’re asking God to do yourself. Actions speak louder than words. Make a thought that has traveled through ancient history. Make modern history.

Why is it that the force of a few terrorists is apparently stronger than the rest of the world put together? It is because, whether we admit or not, we aren’t taking the initiative to start the change. Terrorists work relentlessly to spread their message like an epidemic while we rather spread messages about the latest vine collaboration or a meme based on Drake’s new song ‘Hotline bling’. Their minority’s message is over powering our own ideas as we’re all too busy being ignorant. A war is as common as a blink of an eye so we’ve apparently become immune to it. The blood flowing on an innocent girls face in the Middle East is now as irrelevant as seeing a gruesome Halloween costume.

If we can parade on roads around the world in the name of feminism, change our Facebook profile pictures to rainbow colours and share countless posts supporting animal ethics, why not put up a strong fight for humanity and peace as well? It is with the trend of changing times that we show enthusiasm towards these significant modern issues. Why isn’t promoting world peace among them? We won’t be needing gay rights or women rights if there isn’t a human race to eventually even practice these rights. To keep killing each other like there’s no tomorrow is not what they meant by ‘YOLO’. To create situations that’ll put our future generations in dire conditions is not what they meant by ‘YOLO’. To be oblivious and ignorant about the chaotic state that the world is in and do nothing is not what they meant by ‘YOLO’.

Friday’s events have again stirred up that temporary burst of empathy. Except this time don’t let it die down. Keep igniting and caressing that burst of fire before other fires burn humanity into the ashes. Spread the importance of abolishing racism and emancipate ourselves from the hands of terrorism. Rise above prejudice and discrimination through the enlightenment that recent events have granted you, like a lotus flower that rises above the mud and blooms gloriously on the tranquilizing waters. Skeptics may argue that world peace is a delusional idea and can never be achieved. Remind them of all the Jews, Tamils, Sinhalese etc. who thought they would never live another day without fear. Writing this article was my first step in creating a path that will lead to a paradise on Earth. What’s yours?

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