Childhood memories of vacations in France still alive after Paris attacks

Growing up in England, my family would often take trips to France. Only a 30 minute ride on the channel tunnel and we were in a whole new, beautiful country.

My first experience of anything Disney was at Disneyland Paris. Those camping holidays made for some of my earliest and greatest memories. I thought of those great memories when I first heard of the horrifying terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13.

From the comfort of my dorm room I remember not being able to take my eyes off the TV screen as the death toll continued to rise. The attacks were a retaliation from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) for France’s involvement in the Iraqi and Syrian Civil Wars. The six terrorist attacks on France’s capital left the world absolutely stunned and unsure of what would happen next.

On the day of the attacks all around the world people were displaying their solidarity with devastated Parisians. Even the site of my earliest memories, Disneyland Paris, closed its doors on Nov. 14.

Leaders of many nations are pledging their support for France and promising to aid them in their fight against ISIS.

French President Francois Hollande said the attacks were an act of war and he was planning to respond ruthlessly. This was mirrored in his decision to send out an airstrike to the Syrian city of Raqqa, which is the self-proclaimed capital of ISIS. In the wake of these attacks a worldwide war against terrorism has begun, and no one is sure when it will all be over.

Enveloped in agonizing fear, many people around the world are blaming the Islamic faith and Muslim people in general for an attack that was isolated to a group of extremists.

We saw it when the 9/11 attacks happened and now the world is retreating again into its Islamophobic bubble as a way to explain what happened. People are forgetting that Islam is a religion rooted in love and prayer that shares themes with its fellow monotheistic religions, Christianity and Judaism.

The whole world is scared and mourning the mass loss of life from the Paris attacks, but I think the world must also think of the population of Muslim people in Paris and across the world that are being branded as outcasts and villains all because of the God that they worship.

As the world copes with this horrific tragedy, it is important to stick together and spread love instead of hatred. The world has a duty to stand with Paris and with all the other refugees and civilians and Muslims that are experiencing the harsh effects of this hateful and horrendous act.

Even after the attacks were rumored to have come from Syria, France is continuing to welcome Syrian refugees because they recognize the need to retreat from the equally bleak and frightening reality of life in Syria.

Hopefully this act of compassion will inspire the American states that are refusing to allow Syrian refugees in to change their minds.

In years to come people will be reading about this fateful day in history books and analyzing how the world reacted.