Human life is precious.
This is why we grieve for those we lose, and why we devote ourselves to preventing that kind of pain. On that one basic level, we can agree: every human life matters.
Every human is a child, a friend, maybe a sibling, possibly a spouse, parent or grandparent.
So it is troubling that, after moments of great tragedy, when we are inspired to show our deepest outpouring of humanity, some lives are still deemed less important than others.
Why are lost lives more worthy of respect and honour than those we can still save?
I understand the impulse toward fear. As a person who wants to see their family safe and happy, just like millions of others, I too can ask the basic questions that would lead a person to draw a dangerous conclusion. “Who planted the bombs?” “Who were they working for?” “Why did they do it?” “Are there more of them?”
“Exactly how scared should we be that this could happen to us?”
These questions are not asked out of fear and ignorance alone, but out of a protective instinct to defend the things one loves, particularly from the very violence being visited upon others with whom we deeply sympathize. We look at the reality, the pain and suffering, and ask ourselves how best to cope with it.
But our beautiful world is a complex place.
In many cases, the answers to those questions are not as simple as we would like them to be. A person could be acting independently, their actions claimed by a larger organization. An organization could be coordinating attacks, but for a number of reasons beyond religion. An innocent person can be from the same country as a terrorist, and see the world from an opposite perspective. A country can be lost to extremism, but still be full of good people, who just want to live in peace.
And those good people can bravely choose to flee all they know and love, risking death and disease, sacrificing their sense of belonging – and still be determined to use their lives & bodies to make the world a better place, if only they can find a country that will give them the chance.
These are the children, friends, siblings, spouses, parents, grandparents we mentioned earlier. The artists and scientists, dreamers and creators who propel human progress forward. What difference does a border, an imaginary line – worshipped or forsaken, make?
The one thing left that has no nuance or complexity is the basic truth we started with: human life is precious.
We have a responsibility to protect it.
– THE DUEL CITIZEN