Beyond Our Thoughts and Prayers: Critically Reflecting on Our Responses to Violence

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We live in a time where posts to social media sending thoughts and prayers in times of violence and tragedy are the norm, whether due to a sense of obligation to share our positions publicly or as true expressions of our grief, shock, and sadness.

As we continue to watch violent events occurring this year we must question why some acts of terror and violence merit such incredible outpourings of love, support, and care for the city and those involved, while others — whether in Beirut, Baghdad, Ankara, Garissa, Maiduguri, and so many more — do not.

There are any number of answers: intense media coverage framing some attacks as tragedies and others as expected, deeply held political ideologies, misguided personal biases (i.e. knee jerk responses casting blame on immigrants to European countries), seeing/sensing commonalities (even if they aren’t there), feeling connection from having visited a particular area, etc.

Our work in critically reflecting on what drives our own perceptions and responses to these events, and the even harder work of unlearning continues…

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