As I write, I’m sitting in my living room watching football on a Sunday evening. I just finished eating a meal made with organic tomatoes and peppers we grew in our garden this summer, and now I’m enjoying a craft beer, made not far from my home.
Tonight’s Sunday Night Football game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks begins with a moment of silence to remember the victims of the Paris terrorist attack on Friday night, followed by a slightly altered version of “The Star Spangled Banner.” When the singer reaches the line “gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,” he changes “our” to “your” in a show of solidarity with France. As the song finishes, war helicopters fly over the stadium.
As Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer narrowly avoids a sack, my mind wanders to those around the world who might have a hard time imagining my comfortable existence tonight. Shocked by the violence of Friday night, Parisians are suddenly unsure of whether they can safely walk their streets, go out for dinner, or enjoy live music. Lebanese citizens in Beirut are longing for peace after a suicide attack on Thursday killed over 40 people, while also struggling with their tragedy being overlooked by the world community. Syrians are exhausted by the brutal civil war in their country, abandoning their homes in search of refuge around the world—only to be treated as enemies upon arrival. In contrast to the excitement of American football crowds, Pakistanis hear the sound of aircraft overhead with dread, knowing that an explosion might not be far behind. Kenyans are trying to heal from terrorist attacks in their colleges and malls. Iraqis are caught in a nightmare scenario of spiraling violence, unstable infrastructure, and the deaths of at least 146,000 civilians since 2003. That’s to name only a few, but far too many.
Suddenly my seemingly normal evening seems anything but. Against a backdrop of cheering fans and jubilant announcers, it’s all I can do not to break down in mourning for the state of the world.
Read more at http://www.topologymagazine.org/essay/healing-our-blindness/