A young person’s perspective on the Paris and Beirut attacks and aftermath

 

Aiesec_Logo_

Written by Daniela Dandes, head of marketing and communication of AIESEC in Belgium

On the evening of November the 13th, around 300 young people were attending an AIESEC conference in De Panne, Belgium. They were present at the national conference, taking part in different sessions and workshops. Everything up to that point felt like an expected AIESEC conference, until the news started spreading: there had been shootings in Paris, explosions in Beirut. More than 100 people were murdered and most of the suspects were suicide bombers that have detonated themselves, either during the attack or before, when they were almost caught. Who was to blame? No one knew. A couple of minutes later, a YouTube video revealed that actually ISIS claimed responsibility for the carnage. The conclusion of the ISIS video though was that there were many more such events to come.

And so, since that Friday, confusion and panic in Western Europe spread out like wildfire.

It has been debated, from public media to private social media accounts, how people should react to these violent happenings. Is it moral to look at the Paris attacks and feel so much indignation? What about the daily shootings that take place in Syria? Why didn’t Facebook put up a Lebanese flag option for the profile pictures? What do these events say about how safe we, in fact, really are? What do these events evoke about the current European policy regarding integration of other cultures? And most importantly, where do we go from here?

This is only a bite size of the questions that run through people’s minds since that November the 13th. The part that is most unsettling about the situation is that we don’t have the answers for them. Especially for the last question, there does not seem to be a one size fits all solution. Our minds are so divided into what justice means and who is to blame, how could we stand united in this matter?

But our hearts are not. All we know, as young people in Belgium, is that the concept of war and the idea of hate are wrong. We sympathize with Paris because it hits close to home, we are taught about France more in world history classes than we are about the Lebanese situation. We care also about what is happening in the Middle East, we want to welcome refugees in a civilized manner. Our hearts are filled with good intentions. At the same time, we are not naïve. We know that this is not something that started a couple of weeks ago. This current situation of confusion and division will not go away if we continue the same way as a society.

AIESEC was built because young people did not want the atrocities of the two World Wars to happen again. Our vision calls for peace and fulfilment of humankind’s potential, not because we are idealistic, but because war and hate destroy more than they build and we are aware of this simple logic. Even though we thought that our mission, especially in countries like Belgium, was obsolete, we now realize that we are still far away from reaching this vision. Discrimination happens, hate speech happens. The fact that military troops can be seen at every street corner in Brussels is proof that we are not at peace. That is why actions are today needed so much. As the Dalai Lama recently said, this is a matter that was started by people and should be dealt with by each and every one of us. Action is more precious now to a changing society, more than just prayer. We should change the viral #PrayFor hashtags into #ActFor.

As young people in this organization, we sometimes feel overwhelmed by what is happening in the world. We feel small. Looking at the political scene, we don’t feel like change is being fostered fast enough by the important decisions that politicians are taking. That’s why we decided to create our own opportunities, because we are tired of waiting. On a daily basis, we are trying to build a better world, either via education and training of young people, by letting them find their purpose or practice activities to find out what they like and don’t like. We develop leadership by sending young people abroad, to become more open minded via cross-cultural exchange. We let them be leaders, so that they can change their view that only people put in functions are leaders. Or that leadership means only being in the spotlight. No, we are encouraging young people, like ourselves, to take up the responsibility and start somewhere, even if it seems small, to make a change.
This is what we are trying to do. We hope you are also trying to change the status quo.

About the writer

Daniela Dandes is the head of marketing and communication of AIESEC in Belgium. Beyond her role, she has a passion for knowledge and the world. That is why her interests cover a wide range of subjects, going from culture, to applied physics, from tech to art. She believes in a holistic approach to life, fact that she tries to apply also to her written pieces.

On the evening of November the 13th, around 300 young people were attending an AIESEC conference in De Panne, Belgium. They were present at the national conference, taking part in different sessions and workshops. Everything up to that point felt like an expected AIESEC conference, until the news started spreading: there had been shootings in Paris, explosions in Beirut. More than 100 people were murdered and most of the suspects were suicide bombers that have detonated themselves, either during the attack or before, when they were almost caught. Who was to blame? No one knew. A couple of minutes later, a YouTube video revealed that actually ISIS claimed responsibility for the carnage. The conclusion of the ISIS video though was that there were many more such events to come.

And so, since that Friday, confusion and panic in Western Europe spread out like wildfire.

It has been debated, from public media to private social media accounts, how people should react to these violent happenings. Is it moral to look at the Paris attacks and feel so much indignation? What about the daily shootings that take place in Syria? Why didn’t Facebook put up a Lebanese flag option for the profile pictures? What do these events say about how safe we, in fact, really are? What do these events evoke about the current European policy regarding integration of other cultures? And most importantly, where do we go from here?

This is only a bite size of the questions that run through people’s minds since that November the 13th. The part that is most unsettling about the situation is that we don’t have the answers for them. Especially for the last question, there does not seem to be a one size fits all solution. Our minds are so divided into what justice means and who is to blame, how could we stand united in this matter?

But our hearts are not. All we know, as young people in Belgium, is that the concept of war and the idea of hate are wrong. We sympathize with Paris because it hits close to home, we are taught about France more in world history classes than we are about the Lebanese situation. We care also about what is happening in the Middle East, we want to welcome refugees in a civilized manner. Our hearts are filled with good intentions. At the same time, we are not naïve. We know that this is not something that started a couple of weeks ago. This current situation of confusion and division will not go away if we continue the same way as a society.

AIESEC was built because young people did not want the atrocities of the two World Wars to happen again. Our vision calls for peace and fulfilment of humankind’s potential, not because we are idealistic, but because war and hate destroy more than they build and we are aware of this simple logic. Even though we thought that our mission, especially in countries like Belgium, was obsolete, we now realize that we are still far away from reaching this vision. Discrimination happens, hate speech happens. The fact that military troops can be seen at every street corner in Brussels is proof that we are not at peace. That is why actions are today needed so much. As the Dalai Lama recently said, this is a matter that was started by people and should be dealt with by each and every one of us. Action is more precious now to a changing society, more than just prayer. We should change the viral #PrayFor hashtags into #ActFor.

As young people in this organization, we sometimes feel overwhelmed by what is happening in the world. We feel small. Looking at the political scene, we don’t feel like change is being fostered fast enough by the important decisions that politicians are taking. That’s why we decided to create our own opportunities, because we are tired of waiting. On a daily basis, we are trying to build a better world, either via education and training of young people, by letting them find their purpose or practice activities to find out what they like and don’t like. We develop leadership by sending young people abroad, to become more open minded via cross-cultural exchange. We let them be leaders, so that they can change their view that only people put in functions are leaders. Or that leadership means only being in the spotlight. No, we are encouraging young people, like ourselves, to take up the responsibility and start somewhere, even if it seems small, to make a change.
This is what we are trying to do. We hope you are also trying to change the status quo.

About the author

Daniela Dandes AIESEC
Daniela Dandes is the head of marketing and communication of AIESEC in Belgium. Beyond her role, she has a passion for knowledge and the world. That is why her interests cover a wide range of subjects, going from culture, to applied physics, from tech to art. She believes in a holistic approach to life, fact that she tries to apply also to her written pieces.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

The ECB still protects the banks at the expense of the EU taxpayers

Google strongly rejects EU antitrust charges and now gets ready for the worst to come

A young European voice on Grexit: too high a bill and too big a deal!

The European Youth Forum needs better signal for its “call” for Quality Internships

Mixed news about the Eurozone economy

Tsipras doesn’t seem to have learned his “almost Grexit” lesson and Greece faces again financial and political dead end

Transition between education and employment: how the internship culture is threatening the foundations of our education

The global issue of migration in 2017

Why Eurozone needs a bit more inflation

“Financial crisis will not happen in China!”, the Chinese Premier underlines from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Who is to lose from the 6-month extension of the EU economic sanctions against Russia?

Greece returns to markets at a high cost to taxpayers, after four years out in the cold

Commission challenges Council over EU 2014 budget

Eurozone stagnates after exporting its recession to trading partners

Eurozone: A Sluggish economy offers no extra jobs

Will the three major parties retain control of the new EU Parliament?

Why youth unemployment is so difficult to counter

G20 LIVE: “Our response needs to be robust…otherwise we will only find the fire we are trying to put out”, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon just lit up G20 in Antalya Turkey

October’s EU strong digital mix: From Safe Harbour to Net Neutrality, Roaming and Snowden

Summer JADE Meeting 2015: We came curious, we left inspired

45th Anniversary of the French Confederation (Confédération Nationale des Junior Entreprises)

Bayer-Monsanto merger: the story of the rise of the “endless company”

How much more political is the new EU leadership? Does this include personal bend?

Trade surplus up production down in Eurozone

Vĕra Jourová, European Commissioner in charge of Justice

The New EU-US “Shield” for data privacy is full of holes

I’m not feeling lucky: The “Right to Be Forgotten” ruling puts Google inside a box

€5 billion of EU energy efficiency project money spent on “comfort”

Brexit talks: 2nd round fails to bring the EU and the UK closer on key issues

Intel @ European Business Summit 2014: Better decisions now, the new business dashboard 

ECB will be the catalyst of Eurozone’s reunification

European Youth Forum on Summit on Jobs and Growth

Eurozone: There is a remedy for regional convergence

Bitpay @ TheNextWeb 2014: Innovation’s Best Friend

ECB’s trillion has to be printed and distributed fast before Armageddon comes

Entrepreneurship’s key to success showcased by a serial young entrepreneur

The Parliament paves the way for the creation of the European Banking Union

ECB with an iron hand disciplines the smaller Eurozone member states; latest victim: Greece

Is it just visa-free travel that Erdogan demands from the EU to not break the migration deal?

EU to relocate 40,000 migrants across the bloc: first step of a long due substantial reform?

Merkel had it her way with the refugees & immigrants but can Greece and Turkey deliver?

Why the Greeks forgave Tsipras’ pirouettes around austerity and voted again for SYRIZA

EU finally to extend sanctions on Russia despite arguments; Greece again in Europe’s spotlight

“Decisions taken in the coming weeks will shape Europe’s experience of the internet”, Joe Mcnamee from EDRi says live from European Business Summit 2015

Where do health literacy and health policy meet?

It’s not summer holidays what lead to the bad August of the German economy

Global health challenges require global medical students

Can Kiev make face to mounting economic problems and social unrest?

The increasing drug prices in Europe

EU Commission: Germany can make Eurozone grow again just by helping itself

Forget about growth without a level playing field for all SMEs

Dutch voters reject EU-Ukraine partnership and open a new pandora’s box for the EU

EU will not deliver on promises without democratic accountability

A European student just sets the question of the day: What kind of education policies are missing in Europe?

Is “Sustainable Development” a concept that integrates Health Literacy and Health Policy as a global health action?

Landmark EU Parliament – ECB agreement on bank supervision

For Youth Rights: steps forward for better protection.

Amazon, a pair of shoes and my Data Privacy walks away

The MH17 tragedy to put a tombstone on Ukrainian civil war

Britain in and out of the EU

Europe, US and Russia haggle over Ukraine’s convulsing body; Russians and Americans press on for an all out civil war

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s