I often have my own political thoughts, but I am not one to share them to my friends very often, much less on the Internet. However, after the events of last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the England vs. France international football friendly on Tuesday. I left with some thoughts, and they are thoughts I very much want to share with the world. They are thoughts about why we care so much about this.
There are modern day genocides that essentially go unnoticed aside from a few small organisations and groups of activists. There is violence everyday in politically corrupt countries. There are children starving, women who cannot leave their homes without fear of getting kidnapped or raped, humans being sold to other humans. I care about all of these things. When I hear about them, my heart breaks, and I genuinely want to help. But it’s easy to become disconnected quickly. This isn’t because I do not care; it’s because I cannot relate. I suddenly get swept back into my own life and while I think about those things every once in awhile, they don’t consume my thoughts.
The events of Friday were different. I’ve traveled to Paris. I have friends who studied abroad in Paris, and friends who visited as recently as a month ago. I’ve nearly had to go on a business trip there. I’ve looked into quick weekends away thanks to the opportunity to just hop on the Eurostar and be there in two hours. I have dear friends who now live there.
So…why do we, the young adults of the Western world, care so much about the events that happened on Friday? Why do we choose to showcase our support more than we do for any other tragedy that occurs on a daily basis? Why do we come together in such beautiful solidarity to provide an additional pillar of support to a bruised country?
Because it could have been any of us.
It could have been my friends and I at a concert at the House of Blues in Boston. It could have been Sean and I out to date night at one of our favorite restaurants. It could have been any of the 71,000 people who attended the friendly at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday. It could have been me.
On Tuesday, we all stood at Wembley Stadium for the French national anthem. We all fell silent for a moment of reflection. Everybody was in good spirits, supporting their own team without cheering against the other. This was the England vs. France match, but there were individuals of all nationalities there doing the same exact thing – standing together, and proving that the power of millions of people throughout the world coming together in solidarity is stronger than any act of terror.